The Children Act

The Film

The Children Act is a 2018 drama film directed by Richard Eyre, produced by Duncan Kenworthy, and written by Ian McEwan, based on his 2014 novel of the same name. It stars Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead.

Fiona Maye (Thompson) is an eminent High Court judge in London presiding with wisdom and compassion over ethically complex cases of family law. But she has paid a heavy personal price for her workload, and her marriage to American professor Jack (Tucci) is at a breaking point. In this moment of personal crisis, Fiona is asked to rule on the case of Adam (Whitehead), a brilliant boy who is refusing the blood transfusion that will save his life. Adam is three months from his 18th birthday and still legally a child. Should Fiona force him to live? Fiona visits Adam in the hospital and their meeting has a profound emotional impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried feelings in her.

Cinema Trailer



On 29 August 2016, it was reported that Emma Thompson was in talks to star in an adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel The Children Act, directed by Richard Eyre and produced by Duncan Kenworthy. On 3 October 2016, Stanley Tucci and Fionn Whitehead joined the cast. Production was set to begin in London in October 2016, and filming was completed on 8 December 2016.


The film was released in the United Kingdom on 24 August 2018, by Entertainment One, and through DirecTV Cinema on 16 August 2018, before opening in the USA in a limited release on 14 September 2018.


The Children Act received very positive reviews from film critics. It holds an approval rating of 73% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Children Act showcases yet another powerful performance from Emma Thompson, who elevates this ... picture into an affecting adult drama."

Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a positive review, writing, "The Children Act is that rarest of things: an adult drama, written and interpreted with a sensitivity to mature human concerns."

Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter also gave the film a positive review, saying, "The two central performances could hardly be better. Thompson works here with remarkable subtlety."




Emma Thompson as Fiona Maye, the Honourable Mrs Justice Maye DBE
Stanley Tucci as Jack Maye
Fionn Whitehead as Adam Henry
Ben Chaplin as Kevin Henry
Eileen Walsh as Naomi Henry
Anthony Calf as Mark Berner
Jason Watkins as Nigel Pauling
Nicholas Jones as Professor Rodney Carter
Rosie Cavaliero as Marina Green