I have been floundering on a topic for a new blog post. For various reasons, it has been difficult for me to concentrate the last couple of days. Today, I decided to take a chance and watch a movie called The Child In Time. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Ian McEwan.
I wasn’t actually planning on watching this movie at all. I had heard about it, seen clips, and had decided that the subject matter was a little too close to home for me.
Briefly, the story centres around children’s author Stephen Lewis, who loses his four-year-old daughter in the supermarket. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. For me, being a writer and having a four-year-old child, I really expected that it would be too much, and I would have to turn it off.
I started watching with remote in hand, and found that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. One thing that I really appreciate about watching movies from the UK is that there is a subtlety that you just don’t find in Hollywood (or Hollywood North). The story itself takes place two years after the loss, and while there are some flashbacks, it doesn’t smack you in the face with those raw emotions.
There is a feeling of unreality to the event itself — something that I think that anyone who has experienced traumatic events can recognize. They managed through light and sound and framing to recreate that blanket of shock that tends to descend when your whole world is turned upside down.
The center of the story itself is about going on. Not moving on, but continuing to live in spite of what has happened. Benedict Cumberbatch impresses, as always, with his heartfelt performance. Watching Stephen try to pick up the pieces of his life in the midst of loss and an unimaginable weight of guilt is sobering in a way that a lot of us don’t like to think about. Having kids myself, it is all too easy to place myself in his shoes.
This movie is going to take some time to digest, but I do heartily recommend it. There are elements to the story that leave me curious and eager to read the book that inspired the movie. The Child In Time is available on DVD, and on Amazon Prime Video as well.
I think I will be picking up the novel this weekend, and when I have finished reading it, I’ll very likely post my thoughts on it here. For now, it is back to the old editing grind. Cheers!