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The Message in 'Children of Men' is Buried too Deep to Be Found

'Children of Men' requires explanation after the fact.

Studio : Universal Studios Poster

Children of Men never fails to receive huge accolades as one of the best science fiction movies ever made, and when those same writers explain it to me, I am persuaded. But that’s not how it works. There’s way too much misdirection in this film to give rise to the subtle messages it seeks.

The women of the world have all become barren, and obviously the human race will come to end without a solution. So, as a human viewer, everything else is window dressing that comes in at a distant second.

All hope is lost.

A second viewing made me realize how much the world economy would go into disarray if there were no longer children. Teachers, pediatricians, and carseat manufacturers would all be out of work. In a less direct sense, who would ad executives market to, and why exactly would Captain Crunch still be made. The list of industries touched would be endless.

Of course, what’s not mentioned, but easy to surmise amongst the disarray, is a lack of hope. A childless planet is certain to dole that sentiment out in spades.

In accordance, a complete breakdown in society is not hard to envision. In fact, the last functioning government resides in England, and it’s fascist remains don’t uplift in the least. Illegal immigrants are literally caged on the streets, and the less-than-peaceful “Fishes” have taken up their cause. 

The message gets lost.

The violence is ever-present, and the chaos provides both sides the fodder to blame the other. “We don't bomb. That was the government. That's what they do to spread the fear.” The Fishes operative is well schooled on the inside job.

The playbook for standard human conflict elevates as a pregnancy emerges, and no matter the justification for their cause, it doesn’t take much for the whole thing to go astray. “When people see we have a baby, everyone will join us in the uprising,” says Luke, who leads the Fishes.

Played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, he’s so singled-minded to the cause that he conspired to kill the previous leader (Julianne Moore). Still, the politics pale in comparison to the bigger picture and Theo says as much. “We need to get her proper care,” Clive Owen implores.


I mean, we certainly understand that the government may use the baby for their own propaganda purposes or possibly engineer a white pregnancy for political gain, but the fate of the human race is at stake.

The main storyline matters.

So, obviously you’re more dialed in to the science fiction and finding the source and solutions. This leaves either the government or the mysterious Human Project.

Now, given the government and all its flaws, it may not represent the best hope for the survival of mankind. The Human Project, though, is held up as a pure endeavor that is above all the human transgressions, and the last best hope for a future.

That means you’re intrigued and the human project it is. But the way forward is fraught either way. Nonetheless, don’t you think the uprising would wane with the mere appearance of a baby?

Yes, and when the moment comes, the crossfire immediately stops. So, am I supposed to be awed by the obvious?

After the Fact Understanding

Apparently, the filmmakers were making allusions to the Christ child, and you don’t have to go far to realize that neither newcomer would provide the magic elixir. Hope isn’t such a bad thing, though.

Unfortunately, I was still misdirected by the hopelessness at hand and did not notice. The main storyline held my attention. Maybe they should have gone with something less encompassing. How about zombies? Yeah, I know, but the Walking Dead would have made enough room for the real messages.

Nonetheless, when the Human Project finally appears, the abrupt ending makes the whole thing completely inexplicable. The good news is, I found enough smart people online to explain it to me. Sorry, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

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The Message in 'Children of Men' is Buried too Deep to Be Found
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