The Unenthusiastic Critic's 2020 Christmas-Adjacent Movie Marathon continues, as Michael and Nakea watch the perfect film for 2020's holiday season: Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian nativity story Children of Men (2006), starring Clive Owen, Julian Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clare-Hope Ashitey, and Michael Caine.

Premiering on Christmas Day 2006, Children of Men was a box-office flop, failing even to make back its budget. With every subsequent year, however, Cuarón's dark fable has only seemed more and more prescient, and its critical reputation has solidified its place as one of the truly essential films of the 21st century.

Now, with its images of refugee crises, immigrants in cages, and a global pandemic that leaves schoolyards eerily silent, Cuarón's masterpiece is really a little too on-the nose. But it remains a thrilling action movie, a stunning technical achievement, and a clear-eyed message of tentative hope.


0:00: Prologue: from A Charlie Brown Christmas
0:34: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
8:50: Interlude: Original Trailer
11:05: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
54:12: Outro and Next Week's Movie
56:19: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, Universal, 2006).
—Prologue from A Charlie Brown Christmas (dir. Bill Melendez, CBS, 1965).
—Links and Resources: Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 Press Conference, transcript by Garth Franklin, Dark Horizons; "The New Canon," Ann Hornaday, Washington Post; "10 Best Movies of the Decade," Peter Travers, Rolling Stone; "Future Shock," Abraham Riesman, Vulture; "Are We Living in the Dawning of Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men?" Aba Yamel Rodriguez-Cuervo, Tribeca News; "The Syrian Refugee Crisis Is Our Children of Men Moment," Matt Novak, Gizmodo; "Children of Men Turns 10: Finding Hope in Dystopia for the Age of President Trump," David Erlich, IndieWire; "Baby's Day Off," Roger Ebert,; "Why Children of Men Haunts the Present Moment," Gavin Jacobson, New Statesman; Richard Lawson in "The 21st Century's 25 Greatest Films,"
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—Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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2 thoughts on “CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)”

  1. You're right about this movie being Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece. And not just in retrospect. It amazed me upon seeing it in its first run, partly on the recommendation of Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday who declared it the best film of 2006. It's on my top ten list of science-fiction films despite there not being much science in it. And all these copycat directors who think realism means doing jerky, hand-held camerawork that makes people sick need to learn from Curaron and his cinematographer Lubezki how to hold a hand-held camera steady.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Happy holidays, Sam! I don't know if you've listened to the episode yet, but I actually quoted from Hornaday's "The New Canon" piece (

      And I agree with you on all points, especially the cinematography: Nakea mentions in the episode how messy most war/action movies are in terms of following the movement, but how clear and clean Cuarón and Lubezki's visual storytelling is. It's precise, well-thought out, fluid, and amazing.

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