From Book to Movie, “Children of Men” Style

By Carmen Comment

The New York Times’ Caryn James goes off and running with the book-to-movie concept, comparing and contrasting the two versions of CHILDREN OF MEN – the original 1992 novel by P.D. James, and the new movie directed by Alfonso Cuaron starring Clive Owen & Julianne Moore, which has been getting mostly very good reviews. It’s not quite a book review, not quite thorough analysis, but James makes equal yet different cases for the novel, which she calls a trenchant analysis of politics and power that speaks urgently to this social moment, a 14-year-old work that remains surprisingly pertinent” and an “extraordinary novel [that] deserves to be rediscovered on its own.”

Last week, Cuaron explained to the Toronto Star’s Geoff Pevere that James’ book (which he loved but initially “couldn’t see a movie he could make out of it”) stayed with him, but required much divergence:

I realized (it) could serve as a metaphor for a fading sense of hope. And that comes together with what I think is a human lack of historical experience. So I realized it could be an amazing point of departure to do a film. Not necessarily science fiction. I wanted to something that was an adventure of some sort, but in the mythical way that would rescue myth out of adventure …Like the ancient myths, but that could also be an adventure that could take you through the state of things that are shaping the very first part of the 21st century.