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84

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 678 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Children of Men envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against the backdrop of London torn apart by violence and nationalistic sects, the film follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth's survival. (Universal Pictures) Expand
  • Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
  • Genre(s): Adventure, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 109 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 100
    The performances are crucial, because all of these characters have so completely internalized their world that they make it palpable, and themselves utterly convincing.
  2. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    100
    I don't just mean it's one of the best movies of the past six years. Children of Men, based on the 1992 novel by P.D. James, is the movie of the millennium because it's about our millennium, with its fractured, fearful politics and random bursts of violence and terror.
  3. It's a work of art that deserves a space cleared for its angry, nervous beauty.
  4. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    80
    Picture more than delivers on the action front -- not in bang-for-your-buck spectacle but in the kind of gritty, doculike sequences that haul viewers out of their seats and alongside the main protags.
  5. Owen carries the film more in the tradition of a Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda than a Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford. He has to wear flip-flops for part of the time without losing his dignity, and he never reaches for a weapon or guns anyone down. Cuaron and Owen may have created the first believable 21st-century movie hero.
  6. 75
    The screenplay, which differs significantly from the novel, is uneven, but the distorted mirror it holds up to the present is disturbingly clear.
  7. Bloated adaptation of P.D. James's thoughtful, compact novel.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 70 out of 331
  1. Oct 14, 2013
    10
    What an absolute gem of a movie. Overall, the movie was brilliantly conceptualized and executed. The world the movie paints seems like a world inhabited by actual people. The grim London streets inhabited by street toughs and desperate, hungry immigrants, the prison camps in which immigrants are herded like cattle by the watchful eyes of sadistic military-police, the bombed out, Balkan-like war shelters all serve to transport the viewer into the dystopian future in which the movie is set in, as well as the desperation its inhabitants face. The stunning, visually arresting cinema verite cinematography also serves to heighten the sense of realism of the film. The jaw dropping camera work made me feel the chaos, fear, paranoia and confusion the characters felt in the brilliant conceived and executed action scenes. What a rush! While the bravura visual effects are worth the price of admission on its own, Cuaron does not skimp out on content. The film is a heady brew of ideas that riffs on everything from the nature of the police state, the widening economic disparity between the rich and the poor, immigrant rights to the vapidity of our tabloid-driven culture. However, Cuaron manages to convey these heady ideas without being preachy or overtly political. Cuaron seems to trust that the viewer is intelligent enough to draw his or her conclusions. However, the one aspect that ties it all together is the human element. The characters are well fleshed out and the actors brought brought incredible performances that bring the characters to life. Clive Owen brings a Humphrey Bogardian performance as the protagonist, Theo Farron, a world-weary cynic whose cynicism is rooted in pain. As Farron, Owen displays fear, paranoia, anguish (and even the vacant stare of a mindless office drone beat down by the daily grind of the 9-5). Yet Owen's Farron also displays humor, warmth, bravery and resiliency. In short, Owen's Farron is a complete human being, not the stock action hero caricature that is so prevalent in big budget Hollywood thrillers. Chiwetel Efiojor is at times both warm, but chilling and manic as the rebel leader Luke. Clare-Hope is a revelation as Kee. ****'s Kee displays the vulnerability of a teen in need of guidance, but also a fierce innate resolve and a sense of humor. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, until it ends in an ambiguous ending that leaves as much questions as answers. Indeed, that aspect bothers viewers who disliked the film. A minor quibble if you ask me. If you are an OCD afflicted math nerd who needs every plot strand to be bow-tied neatly, or a small-minded nitwit who needs to be shown everything, then you will probably dislike the movie. If, however, you enjoy well shot films that are not only entertaining on a visceral level but also have something to say, you will most definitely enjoy this film. One of my favorite movies for sure. Expand
  2. Jul 2, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It honestly seems like a lot of the negative reviewers don't look at the aching humanity that basically pours out of this film. The reason I felt it was great is because, while the plot may be simple, the emotion and, more importantly, the reaction of the characters, is incredibly well acted and scripted.
    The film also seems to ask a lot of questions, most of which are terrifying in their implications, and that is exactly what kept me watching until the end.
    For those of you who don't see character development: Do you honestly think the man Clive Owen portrayed in the beginning would be sitting in the boat with the baby at the end of the movie?
    And we all know that even though it is only one baby, what would be the point in waving an endeavor to possibly save all of humanity as futility?
    Expand
  3. Oct 2, 2012
    10
    Easily one of my favorite movies from a cinematographic point of view. There are at least two scenes in "Children of Men" that make the film as great as it is. Without trying to give away too much, there is an action scene near the end that is shot in one take, lasting about 10 minutes, and is just an amazing feat of accomplishment. The story is also very well played out, but don't expect to understand every aspect and angle as they are not all fully developed (an aspect I actually liked considering most stories spoon feed you explanations that sometimes should not be included in the natural flow of events). Expand
  4. Oct 23, 2010
    9
    I feel that Children of Men is an electric motion picture that is both original and evocative of early cinema, where the skilled manipulation of the viewer is carried out to evoke raw, visceral feelings that are primeval within us. Expand
  5. Sep 27, 2011
    9
    Alfonso Cuarón is simply the best in the art of camera, this movie is brilliant the message that leaves you is incredible and show us that no matter how dark is the sky we can always find hope Expand
  6. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Alfonso Cuaron's "Children Of Men" takes place in the not-too-distant-future where every woman is infertile and world order is on the brink of collapse. Theo Faron (Owen), a conflicted diplomat, is kidnapped by his ex-wife and revolutionary (Moore) to escort a refugee to freedom. However, what Theo doesn't know is that this refugee is in fact a pregnant woman. Thus, a epic and provocative quest ensues. In this world nearly every country's government has fallen. Therefore, as the only nation left standing, the U.K. must deal with millions of illegal immigrants trying to take refuge within their country. This prompts the U.K. drop into a militarized police state where violence and death are commonplace. Interesting enough, what I enjoyed most about this movie was the atmosphere. The world in "Children Of Men" is so disquieting, and so scary. You can tell that the art directors really took an extensive amount of time to make this setting look as dreary as it's supposed to be. The setting's bleakness is accentuated with really appropriate lighting. However, the cinematography also offers some really beautiful shots of the ravaged U.K. The screenplay is really well written, and it is performed equally as well. Clive Owen really shines in this roles, and Michael Caine plays a character that has a bundle of hilarious lines. Another aspect of this film that I admired is the fact that Cuaron utilized single-shot. This means that when the crap hits the fan for Clive Owen and Co. the cameras never stop rolling and the whole sequence is filmed in one single take. Which brings me to another aspect of "Children Of Men" that I enjoyed - the final sequence of the film. This film's final sequence used the aforementioned action scene technique and it also features a really interesting yet spoilerish dynamic that I can't share. You'll just have to watch it yourself. Overall I felt that "Children Of Men" was an awesome piece of speculative fiction that effectively serves as a cautionary tale for everyone to take seriously. Expand
  7. Dec 8, 2010
    1
    I sort of enjoyed the movie for a while until the nonsense about refuge camps and when it started to look like all this film brought up was questions with no cohession. Specifically if you think the characters developed and evolved throughout the movie and that all the different ideas were stuck together well then you are nuts. Yes the music may have been good or the photos, I dont know and dont really care. I disagree that the ending was crap in that if the director was trying to convey how nuts people hand gone by believeing in some mythical humainity project and that it was just an ordinary boat then yes it was actually quite a good ending, if.... I thought thats what it might have been about how he just failed at the finish line and that the woman was saved by fishermen. The camp thing was nuts, if the regime was so oppresive they would have just killed them all and it seemed to morp from an anti fuji thing at start of movie into an anti muslim thing and there were also causcasians in there, very bizare. Plus the fact he was only hit in the arms(v.unlikely) and that being hit in the arms twice killed him(not so likely). Never explaine why infertility was there and what difference one baby could have made. If they had made this about scientists rushing to understand say a cure for a disease and their being a fascist regime only using it on non-illegal immigrants it would have been a much better movie. Or they could have gone down the whole chase route more throughtly and made human project a peacful orginization protecting the baby from the fishies. Or even the "terrorits" could have been **** who created a disease through gene technology by accident, who were hated but were also required to solve the same issue they created, all of these different scenarios would have been much deeper than what was presented -nothing. Expand

See all 331 User Reviews

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