The Children

  • 1990
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Romance

Ben Kingsley heads a talented cast in THE CHILDREN, a well-directed and visually stunning film adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel. Set in 1920s Europe, the story revolves around a middle-aged engineer, Martin Boyne (Kingsley), whose life is turned upside down when he takes in a group of children. After five years of corresponding with the now-widowed...read more

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Ben Kingsley heads a talented cast in THE CHILDREN, a well-directed and visually stunning film adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel.

Set in 1920s Europe, the story revolves around a middle-aged engineer, Martin Boyne (Kingsley), whose life is turned upside down when he takes in a group of children. After five years of corresponding with the now-widowed Rose Sellars (Kim Novak), Martin finally journeys overseas to marry her. But

enroute he stops in Venice to see old college chum Cliffe Wheater (Joe Don Baker), a loud American who's in shipping. Cliffe and his wife Joyce (Geraldine Chaplin) have a number of children--some hers, some his and some adopted. After spending several weeks with the children and their nanny Miss

Scope (Rosemary Leach), Martin travels to the mountains to be with Rose. Trying to sort out trouble with her husband's will, Rose asks Martin to wait another year before marrying her.

In the meantime, Cliffe and Joyce's teenage daughter Judith (Siri Neal) shows up at Rose's door with her younger siblings in tow. Their parents are having marital problems and the children eventually convince Martin to become their legal guardian. It isn't long before Martin's commitments to the

children interfere with his relationship with Rose. Worse, his eventual crush on fifteen-year-old Judith jeopardizes his social standing. Exasperated, Rose goes to France on vacation and she and Martin finally break up. Five years later, alone and ailing, Martin returns to Europe where he runs

into the children. At the film's close, it is uncertain whether or not he will get involved with them again.

Director Tony Palmer (WAGNER, TESTIMONY) has done a skillful job of bringing THE CHILDREN to the screen. Kingsley, Novak, Chaplin, Baker and the rest of the cast all deliver solid performances. And newcomer Neal is especially believable as Judith, a spoiled but mature-beyond-her-years adolescent.

Nic Knowland's photography and the production design by Chris Bradley and Paul Templeman are not to be overlooked either. Add authentic-looking costumes and it's as though Wharton's imagery has leapt from the pages of her book onto the screen.

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Ben Kingsley heads a talented cast in THE CHILDREN, a well-directed and visually stunning film adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel. Set in 1920s Europe, the story revolves around a middle-aged engineer, Martin Boyne (Kingsley), whose life is turned upsi… (more)

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