Children of Men at 15: ‘London in winter is a good place to imagine the end of the world’

Fifteen years ago this Christmas, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men arrived in US cinemas to a deafening roar of indifference. For some reason the idea of visiting a gritty near-future dystopia in which women can inexplicably no longer have babies didn’t exactly entice audiences away from unwrapping their presents. The film bombed, failing to make back its $76m (£57m) budget at the box office. Critics weren’t sold, either. “One small problem: I didn’t believe any of it,” sniffed The Independent’s Anthony Quinn. “Not the fertility cataclysm, not the police state, not Michael Caine as a boho activist.”

Children of Men is harder to disbelieve in 2021, provided you have read the news or looked out of a window. The film has enjoyed a critical resurgence in recent years, at least in part because of how prescient its depiction of an immigration-obsessed, post-apocalyptic Britain now looks. Among the film’s avowed fans is the American political theorist Francis Fukuyama, who has said that Children of Men is “obviously something that should be on people’s minds after Brexit and after the rise of Donald Trump”. According to Cuarón’s writing partner, Timothy J Sexton, the reason many of the film’s predictions have proved so accurate is that they weren’t really predictions at all. “We were very much trying to make a movie about the present,” says Sexton over the phone from Los Angeles. “We weren’t trying to guess our way into some future. We just wanted to make it like the present, only more so.”

Continue reading at The Independent.