Stephen McGarvey Christian Blog and Commentary

Miraculous Conception: Children of Men

One of my favorite movies from last year was Children of Men, now available on DVD. The gripping film asks us to imagine what the world would be like if people could no longer have children. Birth control to the extreme, caused by unknown forces, leaves us in a sorry state. Christianity Today picked it for it’s “Top 10 Redeeming Films of 2006” list saying:

December featured the released of at least two movies about pregnant young women whose babies represented the future hope of the world—The Nativity Story, which depicts the biblical account of Joseph and Mary and the birth of Christ, and Children of Men, which depicts a future world plagued by global infertility, in which no babies have been born for 18 years. But along comes a miracle: A pregnant girl who, like Mary, must make a harrowing journey in which to give birth to a child who could save mankind—and there's even a very brave "Joseph" to lead her along the way.

The best science fiction or futuristic stories give us new and interesting ways to consider the deeper questions of life. Children of Men accomplishes this in spades. In the Christianity Today review of the film, Jeffery Overstreet says:

Echoes of the gospel—both subtle and obvious—occur at every turn, reminding us that God gave us hope by providing a vulnerable, miraculous child to a dark, dying, violent world. We watch as a man and a woman take enormous risks, seeking help among the humble, and fleeing from cruel and malevolent men in power…

And later:

Some will criticize [Director Alfonso] Cuarón for emphasizing spectacle at the expense of substance, and they'll have a point—the constant sound and fury makes it difficult to think through all of the questions that Children of Men raises. But the sensory experience will be rewarding to many all on its own. Seeing so many familiar images of real-world chaos, the viewer can come to a powerful realization of the need for hope beyond ourselves. It's not so much an intellectual exploration as it is a whirlwind tour of the world's worst nightmares, encapsulating just how desperate and dangerous "civilization" has become. The film may not be an immediate box office sensation, but its powerfully convincing spectacle is likely to make it a lasting sci-fi classic…

Overstreet’s complete review: Children of Men.

On the Catholic website, reviewer John Murphy offers a poignant look at the film that is certainly worth a read:

The main theme of this film is the miracle of human life and the dignity of the human person, but as Flannery O’Connor said, “A story has to have muscle as well as meaning, and the meaning has to be in the muscle.” Lesser artists deliver their messages with a megaphone, like a preacher bellowing from an on-high pulpit. Cuarón is too canny an artist to let the message drive the movie. Rather, the story and the characters (the “muscle”) drive the film, and the message emerges organically out of how the characters react.  

This is the essence of excellent storytelling.

Read Murphy’s complete review: Miraculous Conception: A Review Of Children of Men.

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