Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Children of Men" (2006)

One of the best movies from ten years ago is increasingly more relevant a decade later. And, in a way it is a Christmas movie, albeit one with a lot of cussing and a lot of disturbing violence. (Probably a lot more like the events surrounding the real Christmas than the sanitized versions we imagine today.) That film is “Children of Men.”

The story involves a future in which humanity has lost the ability to have children, and with that loss comes the loss of hope. The whole world has fallen apart and in the film only Britain has managed to “soldier on.” The film gives us—way back in 2006—an apocalyptic version of Brexit. Refugees are being rounded up, cages and killed or deported.

In this dire future, we meet Theo, a man recruited by his revolutionary, pro-refugee wife, to help get a refugee woman to safety outside of Britain. He is supposed to deliver her to a (possibly mythical) group called the Human Project. They are supposedly looking for a solution to the infertility project. The reason Theo needs to help the woman get to them is because she is pregnant.

Things go very wrong early on, due to political intrigue and conspiracy within the revolutionary group. Theo ends up on the run with the pregnant girl; running from the government, the revolutionaries, and people trying to take advantage of them. Along the way, the baby is born in a refugee camp.

None of this is exactly the Christmas story, of course. However, it is a good mirror to hold up to that story to help us understand what happened better. In today’s climate of anti-immigrant, pro-nationalistic, hardline populist sentiments it is interesting to see the hopes of all humanity rest on a baby being born in impossible circumstances. It reminds us of just how scary, impossible, and trying the real Christmas events were for those involved, as well as the level of stakes we are talking about.

Today we live with the benefit of Christmas and all it represents being ancient history. And yet it should still be relevant and ever present in our daily lives. Do we simply celebrate a sanitized story that justifies our comfortable existence, or are we aware of the fact that Jesus’ birth changed everything and demands everything from those who would follow Him?

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