Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Child in Time

This film is based on a 1987 novel by British writer Ian McEwan, of Atonement fame. It was adapted into a movie of the same name in 2017.


What It's About:

In the work of a moment, Stephen's daughter Kate goes missing at the grocery store - gone without a trace. Wracked with guilt and devastation, Stephen's marriage falls apart under the strain, and he and Julie live separate lives. All that remains of the life Stephen once knew, is his career writing children's books, his friend Charles and Charles' wife Thelma. But when even his friend changes in ways that he can't understand, Stephen is forced to come to terms with the shadow of grief that has been hanging over him.

Why You'll Love It:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly MacDonald give heartbreakingly believable performances. You can feel their agony, resignation, and bursts of hope clearly at each moment. Stephen Campbell Moore also does well, however in a very different style than the other actors.
  • Similar to the style of many of Ian McEwan's works, this film is definitely bittersweet. It's great for fans of his stories.
  • This movie feels really authentic. Although there are a few twists to make things different, it plays out like a really true representation of tragedy without all of the drama, and with all of the quiet agony instead.
Why You Might Want To Skip It:
  • A slightly absurd plotline feels like it pulls focus from the story at hand at one point. Although it resolves in a way that is important to Stephen's development, it detracts from the movie. This is likely a problem with how these scenes were adapted.
  • It's bleak. Although you probably guessed this from the summary, it really isn't a happy film. No, it doesn't end with you weeping your eyes out, but don't be surprised if you shed a tear or two throughout.
  • There is a bit of an open ending. In one sense, things feel resolved enough, but for those who like to know exactly how things will go, this won't be a satisfying ending. The movie ends with more questions than it started with.
Final Thoughts
Bleak and depressing, this movie really won't be for everyone. It isn't happy, and there are few moments of positivity and hope - but that doesn't mean it isn't good. I overall like it and thought it was well done. As someone who likes character-driven movies, this one is properly satisfying. Not one of my favourites or anything, but worth a watch if you are into this style as well.

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