Children of Men is an extremely dark movie about the effects of the impending end to humanity. With essentially no reproduction, other than the birth of baby Dylan, the world has become a den of violence and destruction. After watching this movie, I stopped to consider if there are any real world examples of low reproduction and violence. Upon my researching, I found the CIA’s ranking of infant mortality rateS but also the highest fertility rates tend to be those countries with extreme violence. Taking this in consideration with the plot of Children of Men, one can not help but wonder whether there is some kind of correlation between the two.
In the opening scenes of the movie, we immediately become aware of the deterioration of “First World” society and the random acts of violence being committed. Immigrants are being forced into cages and sent to horrible prisons where they are subjected to terrible treatment and have to struggle to stay alive. When we think about the world today, there is not much difference. Though we live in the “First World” where we are still subjected to random acts of violence, we still imprison immigrants and some refugees (to a lesser extent than the movie), and we still leave those we deem lesser or other than ourselves to struggle to survive, whether in our own country or in others. This movie is only set 13 years from now, and to be honest it might not be much of a stretch to think that we could turn to such violence if reproductions stops.
One of Children of Men’s main characters, Kee, is a young refugee that is pregnant with the first child to be born in 18 years. The implications of her race and nationality are extremely significant. She is living in a time where refugees are discriminated against and treated like animals. She is very young and has little autonomy over her existence; whether it is being led and controlled by The Fishes or by Theo. We also know that after Theo’s death, she is only left to turn to the guidance of the (suspected) Human Project. In juxtaposition to modern society, we yet again see so many similarities. In countries like Niger, Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo there is war, rape, and turmoil, but also the world’s highest fertility rates. There are often many young women of color, living in times of immense struggle, violence, and turmoil, and faced with the task of trying to bear and take care of their children in such an environment. Sadly, those high fertility rates occur also the death of many of those newly born children. When we think of the fact that Kee is a young African refugee and the fact that she will be bringing the first child into the world after 18 years, it amplifies the uncertainty of her and Dylan’s futures and the possible political and social effects that will ensue.
I do not know where I was really going with this journal entry, but I do think that Children of Men magnifies several of the problems that we have today. Immigration issues, race issues, and class issues, are portrayed in this film exemplified by Theo’s cousin who easily says how he just does not think about the horrors happening in the world, while he lives in his large and opulent home. This movie demonstrates how we are all so very dependent on reproduction, even if we do not realize it. Our politics, economics, religions, etc. are all determined by the human ability to continue to go on. At the same time, it also shows how the advent of birth, the production of new hope, brings peace, hope, and faith to people, even those people who are killing each other viciously. That being said, the lives of people living in countries like Burundi, Afghanistan, and Democratic Republic of the Congo have to watch as their symbols of hope die away. Living a life like that certainly could make one turn to violence.