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The Children Act (film starring Emma Thomson &,Stanley Tucci)

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I've seen trailers for this new film called The Children Act. Here's the Wiki synopses


A High Court judge is asked to rule in the case of a minor whose parents are refusing to allow their child undergo a life-saving blood transfusion for religious reasons, which is primarily the teaching of the American Worldwide group now called Jehovah's Witnesses who regard the instruction of the early Jewish tradition forbidding 'life-blood' ingestion [Deuteronomy Chapter 12 vs 23&24 in particular, but there are others] whereas, as in the film, this belief is applied and extended to the forbidding of any medical blood transfusions within JW communities. Emma Thompson, as Hn. Mrs Justice Haye in the film, has to rule between the JW teaching and a medical remedy that will save the life of a teenage minor despite the parents' objections to the blood transfusion.


Has anybody seen this film?  I wondered how it portrayed our stance on the blood issue. I imagine that people we meet in our ministry will believe everything that the film says, whatever that might be

Edited by SueFrog
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Despite having searched before I posted, I have missed a previous thread relating to this film. I'm not sure how to the in the threads but I think this commentary from @retroHelen gives us a good idea what to expect😕. I didn't realise the film had been out for so long. Maybe it's a new release in the uk. Either way, I won't be watching it, 😬


Well, be prepared for those who regard themselves as intellectual or sophisticated, who will be going to see this movie by a well known popular author and atheist Ian McEwan and then getting fired up against us by this twisted one-sided view of us depicted in this movie. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/emma-thompson-stanley-tucci-star-934573


It is based on Ian McEwan's  book that was actually regarded by journalists at the time (2014) as an anti-religious rant with a 'clunky'  heavy plot-line of a failing marriage on top of that to carry it into a novel rather than what could be summed up in ashort story - according to The Telegraph & The Guardian newspapers.


2014 The Children Act by Author Ian McEwan


This is a 'middle/upper-class 'intellectual' atheist popular author whose book from 2014 is now to be made into a film starring English Actress Emma Thompson as the female High Court Judge and her husband played by Actor Stanley Tucci.


A story about a woman supposedly a brilliant High Court Judge, married to her intellectual husband, living the 'high life' that such well paid 'intellectuals' can afford, yet suffering all the ups and downs of their troubled marriage and selfish outlooks.Then the Judge is called upon to intervene in a hospital case where an equally talented young Jehovah's Witness of 17, who along with his parents, is refusing a so-called life saving blood transfusion. She sees how talented he is as he quotes verbatum lots of old literary junk the World regards as clever and plays the violin,  but is stuck with the ethical dilemma of whether to 'let him die' at his own wishes, or intervene as the hospital staff want him to.


Quotations about the Author from various articles:  "McEwan described the denial of medical help on religious grounds "utterly perverse and inhumane", according to the Telegraph, arguing that "the secular mind seems far superior in making reasonable judgments".

"The novelist has long been suspicious of organised faith, sayng that he has "no patience whatsoever" with religion,, something that’s not been hard to detect since his  1997’s book Enduring Love, where a north London science writer’s agreeable domestic life is threatened by a religious stalker. (Christopher Hitchens once suggested that McEwan’s hostility to 'irrationalism' had “something of the zeal of the convert”) In The Children Act, however, his exasperation comes close to being damagingly shrill."

"Before reaching the central plot, he limbers up with an Orthodox Jew who wants to deny his daughters a proper education, a Muslim who abducts his own child and a Catholic couple who would rather both their Siamese twins died than one be saved by surgery. Having put all of them right, Judge Fiona is then faced with Adam, a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness whose parents won’t allow a blood transfusion to treat his leukaemia. -the author's obvious desire to remind us of religion’s annoying persistence."

"When the judge, Fiona, braves the “shabby tangle of London south of the river” to visit Adam in hospital, she finds a boy of impressive precociousness who, among much else, “could recite a long part of an ode by Horace”. Yet, while he initially sides with his parents, he’s no match for a brief touch of Fiona’s secularism. Once she’s ruled in favour of transfusion, he reacts with huge gratitude – and undisguised gobbets of the author’s message: “My parents’ religion was like a poison and you were the antidote… It was like a grown-up had come into a room full of kids.”


"In the end – especially given the choice of Jehovah’s Witnesses as the chief target – the feeling persists that McEwan’s considerable intellectual and literary fire-power is here being used for little more than shooting fish in a barrel."




One sided Prejudice and discrimination disguised as film plot. The man gets acclaim for his researched descriptions of lives of intellectuals, the workings of the courts and other 'clever' workplaces, yet it is obvious - because he dislikes religion so much -  he does no research on the religions he is making broad sweeping biased statements about. Neither does he research the treatments and alternatives to transfusions that help with leukemia or the fact that Blood Transfusions may, in some cases, seem to alleviate symptoms, but is not a life-saving cure for the cause of the leukemia and in many cases may only give a few more weeks of life if the leukemia has really taken hold and may only prolong suffering if the leukemia is not able to be treated with other treatments as the immune system is suppressed by the foreign blood & treated like a foreign organ in the body.

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I'm a big believer in being forearmed when it comes to controversy we may experience on our ministry, therefore the first showing of this film was months ago but mostly only to a select audience and for media reporters to critique. I therefore saw the content written up in the reports and felt we needed to be forearmed. This film comes out this week to the public and the author has had the opportunity to share his secularism/humanism ideals on TV and radio here in UK ever since.


As for the so-called 'life-saving blood transfusion' for leukemia - as I said in my old post - transfusion merely covers symptoms of this serious illness & it's treatment for a short while. Consultants and surgeons all agree that it can in no way be called a life-saver or cure.


Transfusions do not treat the cause of Leukemia, neither do they halt the spread of Leukemia. That is where surgery, medication or certain radiation treatments are used to try to eradicate the tumours or immunotherapy to try to get to the cells creating the problem.


Where chemotherapy of the nasty poisoning type is used, then if the oncologist does not build up the patient with a diet to keep the aerobic healthy cells fed, whilst starving the anaerobic cancer cells, then the chemo destroys many of both types of cells - healthy and cancerous - and the patient is offered transfusions to just cover for the killing of their healthy cells. This is temporary, as the next round of chemo will kill many of the cells indiscriminately, even of the transfused blood, again. Many Witnesses have better benefitted by eating a pro-healthy cell diet (anti-inflammatory, often ketogenic very low red meat & dairy protein, plant-based)  with vitamin supplements to support themselves and which hopefully helps the healthy cells to overcome the rigours of the chemo while killing the starved cancer cells and no transfusions. This integrative treatment protocol has helped some to gain long spells of remission and sometimes has regained enough of the health of the patient's immune system to endure their bodies making rogue cells and destroying them with their immune system & support therapies for a bit longer and given some a longer life with the illness,but only if they weren't very ill or elderly to start with.


  People with blood cancers, who have transfusions,  cannot feel completely well after having them because they usually have them as an augment to other standard oncology treatments that are very rough on the human body/organs/immune system. Blood cancer is either  a slow disease or an aggressive disease, but unless science finds & can treat the cause, most will always have it and it shortens life and they die eventually  from it's complications - in most cases when they can no longer keep overwhelming it's progress with therapies.Very few may go into remission, but this is very rare- described as 'spontaneous remission' because is not widely studied nor understood, so the patient has to be monitored for years after in case of a return of the illness brought on by a future trauma or 'hit' on their immune system. Stark reality that shows only Jehovah can cure some illnesses whilst these standard protocols are used.


 Here is a case, used as a typical example, of a man who did get regular blood transfusions for his type of blood cancer, but they failed to help and he eventually died, and it is discussing this in the context of the efficacy and ethics  of offering endless futile treatments that can lengthen suffering where end-of-life care should be really enacted: http://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/jop.0948501

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42 minutes ago, retroHelen said:

I'm a big believer in being forearmed when it comes to controversy we may experience on our ministry, therefore the first

@retroHelen, Thank you Sister for such a comprehensive posting, not only about the content of the film, but also the facts about diseases of the blood and the efficacy and truths of various treaments. I totally agree that forewarned is forewarned especially regarding the blood issue. Your comments have been a bit help in this respect.


 As a matter of interest in the same subject, there's another tv drama (release date July 2018), called Apostasy starring Siobhan Finneran. It also tackles the blood issue.

the short synopsis reads " Devout Jehovah's Witness struggles with the edict of her faith to never accept blood transfusions despite suffering serious anaemia. Her older sister questions their religion to the dismay of their mother and the elders. "

The drama is described as, among other things, " a bold exploration of faith, fundamentalism and the potential prison of religion"


I couldn't believe it that there are two media productions attacking our beliefs, both being released within a short time period.






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There are quite a number of experiences in our past magazines of persons - not in emergency trauma -  who have gone into hospital with very low blood platelet counts or diagnosed anaemia, and with the right treatment have survived. They did it by working with their own body's immune system's  reaction to the cause - which again blood transfusions don't.


 One reaction to blood transfusion when a person has a weakened system due to anaemia, could be that trying to replace losses with foreign organs (which other people's blood is) can set up rejection reactions and add to the already inflammatory immune system burden, which could, in future years lead to autoimmune reactions - People have developed types of arthritis that are autoimmune for which they had no previous family history and it was traced to transfusions given at pregnancy due to anaemia or elective surgery.


The other reaction can be that the body with low platelets, may have narrowed vessels and arteries to compensate for less oxygenated blood and really needs support and rest for recovery. Transfusion can hinder this by fooling the body into thinking it is normal again and re-opening vessels, then stop seeking to repair or recover itself, and if the anaemia was caused by any wound, it may re-open and haemmorage continue. Also, because the immune system was fooled and stopped support, the patient was sicker longer. It is a balancing trick of treatment that needs more intelligence than was once applied to standard treatment of anaemia.   Anaemia needs testing for cause and deficiencies and then supported to build the person up, whether by IV or oral supplementation, & diet to raise deficiencies, stimulating medication and oxygen.


I remember one involving blood loss at birth that the sister was not expected to survive, but did because the criteria of what constitutes a low blood platelet count was really once based on the needed count for 'combat ready troops' in a war situation because that was where these counts were first studied. Normal people can endure a lower count if their immune system is supported before, during and after treatment, perhaps their temperature lowered, pro-oxygen anti-inflammatory diet ('No-Blood' website suggests foods like concentrate  beetroot juice that racing cyclists use) and their convalescence  is allowed to take a reasonable course, as well as other factors personal to each case. 


Properly treated people needed restful convalescence and allowed to recover, yet recovered well because they made the effort to work with their body to let it heal with the tools it needs to get on with rather than constantly replacing losses, so the body no longer thinks it is sick and stops trying to heal as it should.



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  • 4 weeks later...

The book was based on a real case. The main facts happened. The author is a friend of the real life judge that decided the legal case. The brother was a minor and refused the transfusion, the judge went to the hospital and conferred with him without his parents. He was convinced that his beliefs were genuine and really wanted to consider them in his decision. Of course as a person that considers the law to be above all, he decided accordingly. The brother had the transfusion and our organization did not appeal the decision. After that the judge took the boy and his family (also jw) to a soccer or another sport  game  that he had special seats and was hard to get. Time passed the brother lived a little longer and needed blood transfusion again. However this time he was not a minor and could make a decision. He refused and died.


I read the book when it came out and understood perfectly that secular highly educated people would logically think that way. The author actually recognizes that religion can be good for some people. The parents of the boy (in fiction) used drugs and had very dysfunctional lives before they became jw and improved their lives after conversion. Some dialogues of the jw characters are not real though. Half of the book deals with the judge's marriage and the author created a weird relationship between the boy and the judge. Anyway, lets say that Ian wrote better books before. I loved atonement. He is an atheist but writes very well.


The apostasy movie on the other hand was directed by a disfelowshipped person that is openly against us. His  mother is an active witness and according to him will not watch his movie. I read a few reviews and decided not to watch at all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I watched the Children Act. It was all smooth sailing at first until the boy developed a bizare relationship with the judge. It almost portrays the boy to be mental. In the end he rejects the religion.


It is clear to me that the aim was to entertain. The purpose of the boy developing some kind of an attachment to the judge is to make the movie more dramatic. In my opinion not necessarily to portray witnesses in a bad light.


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