Terrible movie alert: The Children of Men

If you are thinking, even thinking about going to see The Children of Men, rethink. 

It is opening in the USA.  I saw it in Rome, last month, with a certain measure of hope.  I had read the excellent book The Children of Men by P.D. James.

Avoid this irritatingly bad movie as if it were a dead goat rotting in the sun, and for the same reasons.

The movie grossly distorts the book and will leave anyone hoping for a well tailored script or sound performances severely disappointed.

I have given fair warning twice already, here and here.

Stay home and read the book.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Antonius says:

    The trailer doesn\’t look that discouraging to me though. Would you say it has twisted the contents of the book into being something even immoral, or is it just a huge disappointment compared to the written original?

  2. Antonius: I think it is terrible to twist a book beyond recognition. It is worse to target what is of its essence. In this case, the Christian content was very deliberately expunged. this happens even in good movies, such as The Lord of the Rings, which pretty nearly ruined the characters of Aragorn and Faramir, to name only two (let’s not even talk about Gimli). Those characters were ruined, I think, precisely because they were virtuous. P.D. James book suffered a horrific assault.

  3. PMcGrath says:

    FYI: Anthony Sacramone gives a more detailed takedown of the movie on the First Things “On the Square” blog.

  4. dcs says:

    I’m always glad to find someone who agrees with me about Peter Jackson’s character assassination of Faramir etc.!

  5. Jordan Potter says:

    David, who in their right mind would disagree with you about Peter Jackson’s vandalism of _The Lord of the Rings_? There’s just so much wrong with Jackson’s take on LOTR that you wonder where to begin and how to stop. Yes, Faramir and Aragorn were both mangled. Elrond was awful. Having Frodo played by a kid with barely any acting talent instead of a middle-aged man with real acting experience was another fundamental error. Oh, and th e Entmoot was botched too — the Ents spend days deliberating, and we feel the tension build as we wonder what they’ll decide, and then it all blows out like a deflating balloon — they decide not to get involved!! But then Treebeard is shown what Saruman’s Orcs have been doing to Fangorn, and Treebeard loses his temper??? An Ent losing his temper? And how would Fangorn not know what the Orcs were doing to his own trees, his friends?


    Now I can nly hope I live long enough to see LOTR remade by someone who really understands and appreciates the story.

    Okay, enough of my ranting. Anyway, I’ve not read P.D. James’ book, but based on what Father has said, I will shun this movie like the Black Death.

  6. Jeff says:

    Lord of the Rings a “good movie”?

    I wouldn’t touch that gobbler with a ten foot pole.

    So, Children of Man is a baddie, eh, Father?

    What about Mel Gilson’s Acapulko? Have you seen that one?

  7. Jeff: No, I haven’t seen the new Gibson film. However, I do think Jackson’s movie is not so bad…. as a movie, though it is not so good as LotR. That said, after the third release, I reread LotR and marvelled at the contrast between the movies pedestrian language, made more apparent whenever someone opened his mouth, and Tolkein’s noble dialogue.

    The same cannot be said for The Children of Men, which is a lousy movie anyway you look at it.

    I suppose the lawyers and accounts control the true content of movies these days. When will they learn that making a truly faithful movie will also make them more cash?

    Finally, in the manner of Cato, I say: The Children of Men stinks.

  8. Sean says:

    I eagerly await LOTH with added car chases

  9. B. says:

    I really liked Children of Men (the movie).
    But I had never even heard of the novel, and didn’t expect anything Christian-themed in it.

  10. RBrown says:

    Because I like spy stuff, I saw “The Good Shepherd”, the first time I had been in a movie theatre in a few years. It confirmed my worst suspicions.

    First, Americans simply cannot make this kind of movie. By and large, Hollywood is good at comedies and action movies, but often is bewildered with more cerebral situations. Some years ago I looked forward to seeing “The Little Drummer Girl”, but Hollywood turned it into an action film.

    Second, Matt Damon lacks the acting skills to play such a subtle part. Mostly, he just deadpans everything. The character is supposed to be partly based on James Jesus Angleton, who was an interesting man, but Damon turns him into a zombie. (As we all know, box office power is a prime determinant over who plays the lead in Hollywood productions.)

    The classic spy treatments continue to be “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”, “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, and “Smiley’s People”. Maybe DiNiro and Damon should watched those first to get some idea of how to do this sort of thing.

  11. RBrown: And I very much like the author of “The Good Shepherd”, too. Read “Alibi”, sometime. A good friend who is a serious movie goer, and very exacting at that, was pretty apprehensive about “The Good Shepherd”. He too is a fan of Kanon (the author).

  12. Kevin Jones says:

    Is the quality of the presentation of a world without children even slightly redeeming? I’m curious how the movie handles that.

    Is the novel being promoted in the bookstores to accompany the movie? I hope the book gets a few more readers out of this.

Comments are closed.