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The Children Act (2017)

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As her marriage crumbles, a judge must decide a case involving a teenage boy who is refusing a blood transfusion on religious principle.


Richard Eyre


Ian McEwan (screenplay by), Ian McEwan (based on the novel by)
4,141 ( 1,014)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Emma Thompson ... Fiona Maye
Stanley Tucci ... Jack Maye
Fionn Whitehead ... Adam Henry
Rosie Cavaliero ... Marina Green
Ben Chaplin ... Kevin Henry
Rupert Vansittart ... Sherwood Runcie
Nikki Amuka-Bird ... Amadia Kalu QC
Jason Watkins ... Nigel Pauling
Anthony Calf ... Mark Berner
Nicholas Jones ... Professor Rodney Carter
Alex Blake ... Director
Dominic Carter ... Roger
Honey Holmes ... Director / Producer (as Angela Holmes)
Eileen Walsh ... Naomi Henry
Andrew Havill ... George


As her marriage to Jack flounders, eminent High Court judge Fiona Maye has a life-changing decision to make at work - should she force a teenage boy, Adam, to have the blood transfusion that will save his life? Her unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside has a profound impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried feelings in her. Written by Duncan Kenworthy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We all make choices. Hers make history.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a sexual reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

14 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Children Act See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,293, 16 September 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$513,381, 4 November 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The production was allowed to film at the entrance and in the foyer of the actual Royal Court of Justice in London. It is the only film in recent times that got permission to do so. See more »


Maye has a Fazioli baby grand piano in her home. The least expensive piano made by Fazioli has a price tag of $120,000.00. She clearly must have independent means or it would be impossible for a judge to be able to afford such a piano, especially considering her large and extremely expensive London home.

She also plays a Fazioli grand at the concert. Faziolis were introduced in the 1980s and, while being exceptionally well-made and extremely expensive, they are rare, which makes it odd to find one in both locations. This makes no sense for this story and is clearly a product placement. See more »


Fiona Maye: Life is more precious than dignity.
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My Funny Valentine
Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Taken from their musical comedy "Babes in Arms" (1937)
Performed By Emma Thompson on the piano; vocals by Anthony Calf.
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User Reviews

Touching, intelligent film. great Emma Thompson performance
4 August 2018 | by turetskyneilSee all my reviews

Based on excellent writer Ian McEwan novel, this film managed to balance very nicely two themes, a troubled marriage and exploration of religious freedom in life and death health decisions. Issues of sexuality dying in middle age couples, overwork's effects on intimacy quietly and maturely looked at. No easy answers given. What to decide when a religious family refuses to permit a medically needed blood transfusion for religious reasons. A really remarkable acting tour de force by Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci very good as beloved but sexually frustrated spouse, and very amusing spot on character acting by the "clark". Interesting peeks into England's legal system, and some very good cinematography of English countryside.. Slightly flawed by some melodramatic and poorly explained plot turns, the movie is still a must see, very smart and entertaining.

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