Movies about the future always intrigue fans because they help notice today’s issues. Children of Men is a sci-fi thriller about infertility that leads to the extinction of babies on the whole planet. In 2006, the infertility statistic was much lower than it is today. In 2020, 15% of couples had problems conceiving, with 11% infertile women and 9% infertile men. The film was produced in 2006 when the infertility level was 7%. Consequently, the number of infertile people has increased since then, making this cinematic masterpiece more relevant as the years go by. Here’s the plot and ending of Children Of Men explained; spoilers ahead.
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Children of Men: Plot Explained
Death Of The Last Born
Children Of Men begins with an episode of the death of the youngest man on Earth. Diego Ricardo was 18 years, 4 months, 20 days, 16 hours and 8 minutes old at the time of his death. Nobody pays attention to his character traits because nobody cares. He is a baby for them, and babies are saints and innocent. His death is mindless, making the whole world cry and suffer as if he were their son.
London remains the only governed country with millions of illegal refugees from different countries and, eventually, of various beliefs and religions. Londoners are privileged with the right to work, live in apartments, and use governmental services. Some follow the rules, others do not, but all are depressed and without goals because a future without new generations is purposeless.
Londoners and immigrants often join one of the two rebellious organizations:
- Renouncers who flagellate themselves for the forgiveness of humanity
- Repentants who stay on their knees trying to get salvation
Children Of Men: What is the Human Project?
The Human Project is an organization that is believed to treat human infertility. Nobody knows if it exists, but everybody hopes the organization is genuine.
The Premise: Pregnancy
Theo, the movie’s main character, was an activist in the past, but his child’s death ruined his family, so now he follows a grey ‘work-home-work’ routine. One day his life changes when his ex-wife, Julian, asks him to create fake documents for a refugee girl, Kee, and help her get to the Human project’s ship. Theo joins Julian’s team, which soon turns out to be full of betrayals and people wanting to use the refugee for political purposes. Initially, Theo takes up the job for money, but everything changes after he learns about the woman’s pregnancy.
The woman’s unborn baby bears massive value for various rebellious organizations as a symbol of a new beginning and a tool in the war between the refugees and the British government. Luke, Julian’s partner, schemes and kills her to become the new leader. Theo learns of Luke’s betrayal and starts looking for another shelter for Kee.
Tomorrow is here!
Jasper, Theo’s friend, helps him find a [good] dirty cop (Syd) who can get them on the boat called Tomorrow, which will take them to the Human Project. Jasper dies protecting them, and Syd helps the group get into the refugee camp, where Kee gives birth to a girl. Syd realizes the bounty on Theo and Kee and wants to turn them in, but Theo kills him.
Soon, Luke finds them and captures Kee. Theo manages to rescue her and gets shot by Luke in the process. Theo takes Kee to where ‘Tomorrow’ is supposed to pick them up on a boat, and as they get closer to the ship, Theo loses consciousness, and the audience hears the voices of laughing children.
Children of Men: Ending Explained
The ending of Children Of Men shows Theo passing out and the scene cuts to dark leaving two possible interpretations of the final scene. The first one is the death of the leading character, who dies, giving life to a new world. The old world stays behind them, and is killed under the bombs of aviation. In other words, the world destroys itself.
The other explanation is that Theo doesn’t die. He just loses consciousness due to blood loss. He becomes the father figure to Kee’s baby, and considering the two of them are fertile, Theo and Kee might get close enough to have more kids.
Nevertheless, both interpretations are positive because children’s laughter is the final scene, even though it all goes dark. It is hope or faith that you feel but can’t see. Moreover, nobody can guarantee that the new generation will not repeat the mistakes of the previous world.
Children of Men: Movie Meaning
London is the only civilized country, but it diminishes all the existing human rights because nobody understands the real meaning of the words humanity, kindness, and love anymore. Infertility is a kind of nature’s punishment for the chaos and terrorism people have given birth to.
Life is Life
Life is a gift one cannot get twice. Human life is precious, and the world has lost the ability to conceive because everyone followed their governments blindly. Hope and faith give birth to a new, better reality because true believers don’t give up and sacrifice everything to achieve the desired goal.
Religion is another theme of Children Of Men. Theo and Kee are just like Joseph and Mary from the Bible, who try to save the blessed child and keep it away from evil. In one scene, soldiers meet the baby on their knees and stay silent as if they have seen Saint Mary with a newborn Jesus in her arms.
A Reflection Of Our World
This action thriller is a dystopia that reflects the truth of the contemporary world – residents resemble lions who fight for their pride, and refugees are treated like freaks who want to become human again. It’s a message for our generation, “This will be our future if we don’t change our way of life, what we are doing to the planet and ourselves”.
The movie shows that advancements in civilization and technology kill humanness, which is why nobody feels sorry for dead people except their relatives. Such a world is not for an innocent infant. To raise it like a human, it is necessary to bring it to another world full of hope and faith, like the Humanity Project.
Children Of Men: Time Frames and Filming Location
The action thriller is a screen adaptation of the novel by P.D. James, written in 1992. The difference is that the author described the imagined events in 2021, and Alfonso Cuaron, the film director, shifts everything to November 16, 2027.
All events occur in futuristic London, the only place with a government that tries to keep order and law inside the country. Foreigners, whose governmental systems have failed, try to enter the country to survive and return to a civilized world. It is hard to recognize the capital of the UK because everything is gloomy and grey. Garbage and ruined buildings fill the city. The only things that remind us of the familiar London are double-deckers, the UK flag at the main character’s workplace, left-wheel cars, Queen’s Guards on horses, and BBC News.
The place selection is logical because the book’s author was British, so she chose the epicentre of events in the country where she was born. The exact date at Children Of Men’s beginning makes the scenes more realistic, despite the futuristic circumstances.
Techniques of Depression and Despair Presentation
Life without a future is meaningless. The dying world turns all people into depressive creatures. They live one day at a time because there is no point in improving lives for future generations.
The atmosphere of depression is conveyed in the following ways:
- The dominant colours are grey and black, which symbolize impending war, tragedy, and death.
- Except for black and grey, there are only two other colours – yellow and red. Yellow symbolizes illness, despair, jealousy, and danger; red represents blood, aggression, violence, and revolution.
- Even though it’s November 16, the trees and grass are green. It creates the feeling of confusion. No wonder Theo finds a pregnant woman who shows the world its silliness and narrow-mindedness. Even though life is still there, people are too blind to see it.
- There isn’t a single scene with sunny weather or human laughter, except for Roger telling a joke.
- People in cages are kept like dogs, bombs explode in the middle of the day, and the news talks only about death, including the morning ad about the suicidal kit.
The depression ends only at the end of the movie. The blue ship (the colour of order and hope) arrives to save the newborn and his fertile mother.
Children Of Men: Interesting Details You Can Miss
Immigrants and Racism
The government tries to eliminate all refugees who want to penetrate the country and become citizens. The situation resembles the Nazi regime, where only the Aryan race had the right to survive. It gets further ridiculous – at Children Of Men’s beginning, there is an episode with a German lady unwilling to stay with an Afro-American inside one cage, even though they are both refugees from another country.
Having no future, people experience the great depression, and the worshipped government gives limitless amounts of antidepressants and even suicide kits, ironically called Quietus. Their ad delivers three core messages: discounts for everyone who wants to die, refugees are to be top customers, and suicide is the way to Heaven without pain. But get this, the empowered don’t allow people to buy weed legally.
This hypocritic element in the film shows a highly-moral state without morality. They kill thousands but regard weed as the source of evil. An immigration cop delivers marijuana illegally throughout the country. Refugee centres remind us of places where poor dwellers reside in the US and UK, where the law doesn’t work.
Avoiding Fertility Tests is a Crime. You can see this motto behind the backs of rebels who throw rocks at the bus with Londoners inside it. The government is not doing tests to find people who can give birth to new people. Why? The answer is in the film – refugees are their salvation, but they can’t accept that. So, the future of humanity can be saved, but the mighty people don’t want to lose their power and let refugees get rewards.
Entertainment: Forced Celebrity Status
The BBC News shows episodes of the youngest person in the world on all screens, which means they kill the right to privacy. The young man grew up aggressive because the world made him rude. All his life, he was a tragic reminder of the 18 years of infertility, so his death resulted from lousy fame that he never asked for.
Every time one of the politicians is in trouble, a bomb explodes. This is the key idea of the whole movie. Who is guilty that the world is dying? The politicians. The fish stinks from the head.
Diego dies because his “fans” killed him, but the “baby” role is immediately replaced. The press witnesses each of his steps but does nothing to save him. So, human lives have never been valued by this world.
Children Of Men: The Most Impressive and Touching Scene
Those who’ve watched Children Of Men would consider the scene with the soldier’s reaction to a baby as the best and the most touching.
Luke kidnaps Kee and her baby for political purposes, but Theo saves her from the bombed building. When they come downstairs, the soldiers kill every refugee but stop shooting as soon as they see the baby. Some cry and some kneel and pray. Others can’t believe their eyes. The war stops for a second when a miracle shows itself. However, this scene, too, was to show irony because the murders continue right after. Nothing can save a world with an anti-human regime.
What were your thoughts on the plot and ending of Children Of Men? Did you notice any significant aspect that was left out from the book? Do leave your comments below.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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