It's been a few weeks now since i saw Children of Men. I've thought about it a great deal. When the the film first came out, it was too bleak for my tastes. I think we made it like 15 minutes in and bailed. This time, while I saw the deep bleakness that the film is set in, I realized it was necessary to show us what hope really looked like. This movie is about Hope. It's about Faith. It's about whether Humanity is worthy of Salvation.
I get that it's hard to look past a dreary London in a future where infertility is about to wipe humans off the face of the world. It's been a generation since the last infant "Baby Diego" was born. The film begins with the reports of the youngest human's senseless death...in a drunken brawl. Our hero, Theo (Clive Owen) is a jaded, and world-weary bureaucrat when we meet him, adding whisky to his morning coffee. The world we are told is a dreadful mess, except that "only Britain soldiers on." as is the English way, as David Gilmour would tell us "with quiet desperation."
A friend pointed out to me that the young mother and her infant are in fact doomed to a lifetime of scientific study, basically as lab rats. Here's why that's not true. At the end of the film, with Theo having given everything, his parents, his job, this life to fullfill his ex-wife's purpose: getting the pregnant woman to the Human Project. We see mother and infant adrift at in the row boat with a dead Theo, waiting at the buoy for their rendevouz with the Human Project. For a while we wonder if it won't end like that. A great deal of life and energy expended for nothing. Like the Great Gatsby's ending. Meaninglessness as meaning.
But, no. The ship, named Tomorrow is seen converging with our castaways in the final scenes. It show us that Theo trusted Julia (and his father's) faith in the Human Project. We have to also. That's the whole point. We are the Human Project. We have to believe that Humanity is worth saving.
And, also, the only scene that rivals the scene in Children of Men where they walk past the rows of soldiers with the baby for emotional power for generating hope and a fair share of happy tears is from Crash, with the little girl with the invisible invulnerability magic cape.
It's a brilliant movie, and it belongs at the top of the list for Best SF Film of the 21st Century.