So last night I saw Children of Men. I couldn't recommend it more. It's sticking in my head so much that I basically can't sleep right now.
I honestly don't understand the complaints of sexism. Not once in the film is it mentioned that women are infertile but men still are. I think the closest is when Michael Caine's character is telling a joke while stoned and says, "Women are infertile," but he doesn't say "...and men still are." Seriously, I had my sexism detectors on full blast for the whole film, and there wasn't much beyond the usual background noise present in everything in our culture. Also, this movie portrays a distopian future, so it's not like it's romanticizing or glamorizing anything.
Two things about the movie especially struck me. First, when the pregnant woman says she felt like a freak being pregnant, I definitely identified with that. All of my friends are single, gay, or single and gay so did I feel like a freak while pregnant? You bet.
In fact, this movie along with I'd say, Rosemary's Baby, does a good job describing the total horror of pregnancy and childbirth. My experience with pregnancy and the medical establishment was that every new awful thing that happened to you was "totally normal," according to all doctors and caretakers. Bleeding and cramping early on? Normal. Constant, ever-present nausea? Totally normal. Joint pain so severe you can't even stand up and have to walk with a cane? Absolutely normal. Don't worry your pretty head about it and trust your doctor.
So when Rosemary's Baby came on cable one late night (insomnia...totally normal,) I found myself weeping in solidarity with poor little Mia Farrow in her Vidal Sassoon hairdo, whose entire community of friends, family, and doctors were telling here everything was normal when something was so obviously wrong.
Also when you're pregnant, everyone wants to pretty much control everything you do. People won't let you get up, get nosy about what you're eating, and want to touch and coo at you. When you've finally had the baby everyone wants to stare and touch and ask nosy questions. It can get downright unnerving, especially when your hormones are at their peak.
So when there's scene after scene of creepy distopian future-citizens cooing and pawing at poor pregnant Kee in Children of Men I could definitely sympathize. And everyone wants to decide her fate for her, even the good guy up to a point. Totally realistic.
The other thing that was really great about this movie were the action sequences. I had the ending spoiled for me and I was still on the edge of my seat, ripping my hair out with tension at times. Seriously, there's a scene towards the end where the two main characters get separated in the middle of a huge battle that's amazing. And I was too wrapped up in it to be paying close attention, but I'm pretty sure the entire scene was a single take. Very impressive.
Also, keep in mind that (besides the whole infertility thing) the universe described in this film is reality for many people living in the world today. Somewhere a pregnant woman is giving birth in a refugee camp, somewhere a midwife is being beaten, somewhere civilians are caught in crossfire. Somewhere a baby is being spirited off a battlefield. And some of these events are being underwritten by our very own government. Frankly, it smacks slightly of privilege to complain about a faint tone of sexism in the tagline of a poster (that the filmmakers probably had very little to do with) when the movie is making points like this.
(Of course it could smack of privilege for me to say this about a movie on a blog when people starving people could have been saved with the money spent on my computer or the film, but let's not get paralyzed with liberal guilt. And stop reading Peter Singer.)
Anyway, I've probably talked the movie up so much now that if people see it after reading this they'll be disappointed, but oh well. If you don't like it, as a cineaste and Movie Snob I do reserve the right to judge you.
Just kidding. Mostly.