What message does this film relay about immigration and xenophobia?
The plight of refugees in Britain during Children of Men reflects many immigration issues in the world today. People’s fear of the unknown—and even the fearful rhetoric relayed by government officials—drives them to forget their humanity when faced with refugees who suffered in their former countries, seeking out hope in a new place. Children of Men sheds light on the inhumane treatment of refugees and makes it clear that a better solution is necessary.
What effect does Cuarón’s use of long takes have in the scenes where this filming technique is used?
Director Cuarón is famous for using long takes in his filming, which is when a scene is done in one extended shot rather than multiple shots strung together. This creates a raw, real effect, since viewers feel like they are actually there watching the scene with their own eyes rather than viewing it through a camera lens. He uses this technique in a few important scenes, notably Kee’s birth scene and scenes where Theo is running during the fighting at Bexhill. These are some of the most high-tension scenes, and prolonging the camera takes adds a new dimension to the tension.
How plausible is the future world depicted in Children of Men?
One of Cuarón’s main goals was to set this film in a recognizable future world, one enough like our world today that it would be jarring for viewers to see. Overall, the makeup of this world is familiar, down to the look of the city and the technology available for people to use, which makes this world seem like a plausible near-future scenario. It is less likely that an infertility crisis of that size would strike humanity so suddenly, but not so unlikely that it is impossible to believe. Cuarón places this dystopia in close proximity to our own society, which makes it even more frightening.
How has the lack of children changed society?
For viewers it is difficult to imagine a world without children, since they are a common feature in our daily lives. In this futuristic society, there are no children, and the world has subsequently become much more bleak. Children give people a reason to hope for the future, and bring an innocence and lightheartedness to the world. Without children, and with the species’ extinction looming, there is nothing to stop people from fighting wars or wreaking havoc. Without children there is no future, and a world where no one thinks about the future is dangerous and dark.
What kind of relationship does the film portray between Theo and Julian?
The history between Julian and Theo is evident the moment she walks into the Fishes' headquarters and Theo realizes who kidnapped him. There is obvious tension between them, because it has been nearly twenty years since they parted ways following the death of their son. Their brief fight on the bus shows that they have not yet moved past the difference in attitudes that drove them apart. But they also share an evident desire for closeness again, and still feel the same sort of comfort with each other, proved by their light banter in the car ride. Theo's devastation when Julian is killed shows he truly still cared about her, but he kept it to himself, needing to grieve in silence for once again losing the companion he lost for the first time two decades before.
What role does religion play in the film?
In the face of a disastrous world and a dying species, many people turn to their faith seeking an explanation. The film constantly shows scenes of people attempting to repent or renounce in order to achieve God's forgiveness for whatever sins put humanity in this position. Furthermore, the film incorporates Biblical symbolism in the Tomorrow, representative of Noah's Ark where humans and animals alike gathered to begin the world anew, and in Kee's pregnancy, which is reminiscent of Mary's immaculate conception.
Luke is consistently portrayed as the "bad guy" throughout the film. Is he sincerely a bad person? Why or why not?
Just like many other characters in the movie, Luke falls prey to the perils of human nature. He lets his ambition take over and push him to do terrible things, particularly arranging Julian's death in order to take over as leader of the Fishes. But at his core, he is simply fighting for a respectable cause he believes in: proper treatment of the thousands of refugees streaming into Britain. He gets a moment of redemption at the very end of the movie, when he talks about how beautiful it was to hear a baby's cry again.
How was a totalitarian government able to emerge in the wake of the infertility crisis in Britain?
The chaos created after the panic of realizing that the entire species was infertile paved the way for an oppressive government to come in and take control of Great Britain. The main way dystopian, totalitarian governments are able to rise to power is through fear; this government capitalized not only on people's fear for the future of the species, but also on their fear of foreigners coming in and bringing terror to the nation due to the horrors happening in the rest of the world. Through this fear, they were able to take control, and the government in the film is not unlike the famous totalitarian government depicted in George Orwell's 1984.
Why is staying by Kee's side so important to Miriam?
Before the infertility crisis, Miriam was a midwife, and thus her entire career centered on coaching women through their pregnancies and delivering babies. In the wake of infertility, Miriam's job has become obsolete, and this has affected both her lifestyle and her psyche, having spent all her time focusing on a miracle of life that no longer exists. Helping Kee was her chance to get back to doing the old job she loved, while also making up for being "there at the end" of fertility—by helping Kee, she can now be there at the beginning of the next era of human life.
How does Kee develop over the course of the film?
For much of the film, Kee is carted around, carefully watched over and doted on without ever really making decisions for herself. Following the birth of her daughter, she takes on more agency, stepping up to protect her baby in whatever ways she can and embracing her new role as the mother of not only this child, but also of the future of humanity. She shows her transformation from a young, frightened girl to a determined new mother at the end of the film, when she overcomes her sadness after Theo's death and honors him by naming her daughter Dylan, keeping her strength up in order to be there for her baby.