The Children of Men
A science fiction movie coming out in September has caught my attention - The Children of Men. It's adapted from a novel by P.D. James, and stars Clive Owen, with Alfonso Cuarón directing. The reason I noticed it was the premise of the movie ... a future in which all humans become infertile. A few years ago I wrote a short story on that theme, so I wanted to see how P.D. James handled it.
The movie hasn't been reviewed much yet, as it hasn't been released, but info on the novel is more extensive. Here's a little of what Publishers Weekly wrote ...
... Near the end of the 20th century, for reasons beyond the grasp of modern science, human sperm count went to zero. The last birth occurred in 1995, and in the space of a generation humanity has lost its future. In England, under the rule of an increasingly despotic Warden, the infirm are encouraged to commit group suicide, criminals are exiled and abandoned and immigrants are subjected to semi-legalized slavery. Divorced, middle-aged Oxford history professor Theo Faron, an emotionally constrained man of means and intelligence who is the Warden's cousin, plods through an ordered, bleak existence. But a chance involvement with a group of dissidents moves him onto unexpected paths, leading him, in the novel's compelling second half, toward risk, commitment and the joys and anguish of love ...
As one would expect in a world where no babies are born and the youngest humans are in their twenties, fear and despair play a big part in people's lives. The story has England ruled by a despot, criminals are abandoned on the Isle of Man, the Church of England has fragmented into sects, the countryside is depopulated, crime slows, sex loses its allure, and the aging citizenry prepares for death through suicide. All this has the potential to change when Theo learns of the existence of a pregnant girl and strives through adverse conditions to get her to safety.
James' take on the scenario sounds much darker than mine but I think the issues raised by her story will make a couple of movie hours well spent.
- Michael Caine's also in the movie