The refugee army marching through Bexhill is shouting, “Allahu Akbar,” an Islamic cry meaning “God is greatest.” Marichka takes Kee and Theo through the mob and into a building, where a man who is presumably a friend of Marichka’s allows them into his apartment once he catches sight of Kee’s baby girl. The apartment is quite lavish for Bexhill, and inside, Kee and her daughter relax on the bed while an old woman sings a lullaby to the baby. Kee jokes about what she will name the baby, suggesting “Bazooka.”
It is clear that the people in this house will help Kee and Theo get to a boat to meet the Human Project. After an hour of rest, they head out into the fray, with Kee in a wheelchair concealing the baby. A battle is in full force between the fugees and the British army. Marichka and another man travel with them, trying to get them to the sea. Suddenly a group of Fishes ambush them and Luke appears, spotting Kee immediately. He tells her she is safe now, but she spits at him in disgust. He announces that this is the uprising they were waiting for, and it will only get better once the rebel fugees see the baby and are inspired by her. Then he takes Kee, leaving Theo, Marichka, and the other man with guns pointed at their heads.
One of the Fishes kills the man who had been helping them, but then a gun battle ensues and the Fishes are distracted enough to allow Theo and Marichka to get away. Theo leaves Marichka to run and attempt to find where Luke brought Kee and the baby. As he runs, the camera shakes and blood spatters. Amidst the fighting and death, Theo tracks them to an apartment building and hears the baby crying, managing to locate Kee on an upper floor. Luke is there, and he tells Theo that he forgot how beautiful it is to hear a baby cry. He also says that Julian was wrong—she thought there was a chance at peace, but he cannot see how there can be when the government continues to take away their dignity.
Luke says that they need the baby, but is then distracted by gunfire out the window, giving Theo a chance to escape with Kee. There is suddenly an explosive blast, and Luke is caught in it and killed. Theo and Kee are stunned for a moment, but then manage to get out of the building because all of the people hiding out there are in awe of the cries of the baby and do not stop them. The British army enters the building, but cease fire immediately when they hear the baby and allow Theo and Kee to leave. Everyone is stunned and, in their shock, they do not fight. Even outside, the army does not fire, creating a pathway for Theo, Kee, and the baby to keep walking. As suddenly as it starts, though, the peace ends, and a bomb prompts the army to begin firing once more. Kee and Theo steal away and find Marichka, who leads them to the boat they need. They board the small rowboat in a pipe underground; the walls of the large pipe are covered with drawings that resemble cave-writing. Marichka refuses to come with them, saying they should go alone, and waves them off as they travel down the pipe to the sea.
Theo rows them to the buoy where they are set to meet the Tomorrow. Kee worries that they are too late, but Theo insists they will come. They watch fighter jets fly over them and drop bombs on Bexhill, destroying the entire camp. Kee looks down and sees blood, thinking she is bleeding, but Theo reveals it is his blood; he was shot and is hurt badly. He tells Kee to keep her baby close to her no matter what, and that everything will be okay. As the baby cries, Theo explains to Kee how to wind her and comfort her. The baby calms down and Theo smiles, though he clearly is losing strength.
Kee announces that she will call her baby Dylan, which is a girl’s name too, to honor Theo’s lost son. This touches him, and he is silent as he closes his eyes and slips away, presumably dead. Kee panics and the baby begins crying, but suddenly a boat appears on the horizon. It is the Tomorrow. Kee sings to her baby, telling her that they are safe now. The final shot of the movie is the small rowboat sitting and waiting for the larger fishing boat, the Tomorrow, to get them. The movie ends with a black screen reading “Children of Men,” with the sound of children laughing and squealing.
Though this film is rife with symbolism, the baby herself is the most important symbol of them all. This baby is unique in that it means something different to everyone. For the Fishes, the baby is a political tool that they can use to rally more people to their side and progress the uprising. For the government and perhaps even the Human Project, the baby is an object to be poked and prodded, in order to figure out how to make humanity fertile once more. But to Kee, the baby is merely her daughter, who she has made it her mission to protect above all else.
Despite its differing purposes, the baby does manage to unite everyone in one way: through her cry. The world has gone nearly twenty years without hearing a child’s cry, and for a few moments, the sound is enough to bring both sides of the uprising to a ceasefire to listen to the miracle in front of them. This is a reminder that in spite of all the different political aims that one side has versus the other, both are fighting for the same thing: the privilege of somehow bringing children into the world once again. A child is the purest form of innocence, and this child, the only one on earth, manages even to bring war to a momentary standstill.
Unfortunately, though, this peace is only for a moment. The fighters are quickly reminded of the battle, and carnage and death ensues, reminding audiences that one baby’s cry is not enough to reverse the damage and hatred that resulted from twenty years of infertility and chaos. Part of the filmmaking process is to accentuate the horror of this war; the shaky camera images and bloodstained screen make this experience more real for audiences, so they can feel the terror that the characters feel. Dystopian films are meant to serve as a warning to their audiences: attempt to fix these problems now, or things may escalate to reach this point of no return.
Theo has stuck by Kee since he first met her, fighting a battle that initially did not appear his to fight. He took on the role of protecting her and getting her to the coast at first only because the Fishes were paying him for it, but the task became so much more for him. In the end, he gives the most important sacrifice—his life—to protect Kee and get her to the Human Project, which will hopefully lead to the survival of humanity. This is Theo’s way of atoning for what he has not done in the last twenty years, for his apathy and lack of activism since his son died. Julian had been fighting all along, and she sacrificed herself as well. In the end, Theo makes the same sacrifice, and they are joined together in their fight for what they believe is right.
Kee could easily be crippled by sadness following Theo’s death, but she is not. Instead, her resolve is deepened to be a good mother to her new daughter and keep her safe, showing that she is ready for the weight of the responsibility of being the symbolic mother for all subsequent humanity. She even names her baby after his own, honoring his sacrifice for her and ensuring that what has mattered the most to Theo all these years—his lost son—will live on beyond him in some way. The film ends with the Tomorrow approaching and the sound of the laughter of children, a sign of hope that parenthood and fertility will return again one day. Though dystopian films like Children of Men present bleak images of humanity’s future, they also often end with a message of hope, reassuring viewers that human resolve, strength, and empowerment will allow us to triumph above even the worst situations.