The world was stunned today by the death of Diego Ricardo, the youngest person on the planet, the youngest person on earth was 18 years, 4 months, 20 days, 16 hours, and 8 minutes old.
This quote, coming just a few minutes into the movie, is one of the ways the film clues audiences in to its context. Immediately, we learn that a child has not been born in more than eighteen years. We also learn that people have been keeping an eerily close watch on the youngest person in the world, who has become a national icon. This quote is one of the many ways that Cuarón makes it clear that while it may look similar, the world in this movie is quite different from the one viewers recognize today.
Chance. He was their sweet little dream. He had little hands, little legs, little feet. Little lungs. And in 2008, along came the flu pandemic. And then, by chance, he was gone. You see, Theo’s faith lost out to chance. So, why bother if life’s going to make its own choices?
Theo listens in on Jasper telling Kee about his and Julian’s lost son. Jasper attempts to explain why Theo has become so apathetic and given up on his former activism. Before, he tried and tried to do what was right, but he lost his son anyway—to him, this was a sign that chance ruled and fate would take its course no matter what he did to try and change it.
As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices.
As Theo, Miriam, and Kee wait for Sid’s arrival to arrest them at the abandoned school, Miriam tells the story of her life as a midwife just as the infertility crisis was setting in. She remarks how the absence of children’s voices has changed the world; childhood innocence and hope is something special, and it keeps the world grounded and peaceful. Their world then is evidence of what would happen to a world without children, and her statements are made even more chilling by the fact that she and Theo are sitting in a place where children once roamed, played, and learned.
You know, when I started puking, I thought I catch the pest. But then my belly started getting big. Nobody ever told me these things. I never seen a pregnant woman before. But I knew. I felt like a freak. I didn’t tell nobody. I thought about the Quietus thing. Supposed to be suave. Pretty music and all that. Then the baby kicked. I feel it. Little bastard was alive. And I feel it. And me, too. I am alive.
Kee explains the process of finding out she was pregnant to Theo as they hide out from the Fishes in Jasper’s house, safe for a while. In a world where no women can get pregnant, it make sense that few young people would be told what pregnancy felt like. Kee was left to experience this miraculous occurrence on her own, figuring out what was happening to her body as things moved along. The joy and wonder a mother feels when her child first kicks was multiplied a hundredfold for Kee, who was the first woman in eighteen years to experience such a thing.
What do the police know about justice?
This quote, although meant as a joke, encapsulates the frustration and anger that the people of Britain—in particular, the Fishes—feel about law enforcement. We commonly conceive of police officers and other law enforcement officials as bringers of justice, giving equal treatment to everyone and minimizing conflict. In this world, law enforcement exists to polarize people, to create fear and persecute immigrants as a result of this terror. The difference is striking, and it is one of the ways this futuristic society has become corrupt.
Kee, your baby is the miracle the whole world has been waiting for.
This quote encapsulates the film’s central plot, and makes it clear why everyone is so willing to put their lives on the line in order to protect Kee and her baby. For nearly twenty years, humanity has watched itself slowly move closer to extinction as the human population ages and no new babies are born. Kee’s pregnancy is a miracle because it gives people hope that the species will be able to continue on, that all is not lost as it seemed.
Julian was wrong. She thought it could be peaceful. But how can it be peaceful when they try to take away your dignity?
Although Luke has been characterized as the enemy throughout most of this film, letting his ambition and political aims get the better of him, he is just as frustrated by the state of the world as everyone else. Unlike most people though, he has attempted to do something about it—and seen very little success, despite the blood that has been shed. In this quote he expresses his hopelessness that there will ever be change, since the government has shown no regard for the dignity and humanity of the people whose lives it destroys.
Syd was watching television last night with Mummy. She’s a sweet old soul. Dying of cancer. It’s heartbreaking. And then the news came on, and you two were on it. Something about a cop killer. Something about a big reward. Syd then finds out the Fishes are looking for you. So Syd thinks, “If the Fishes are looking for you, and the coppers are looking for you, you people are first class commodities.”
At first it appeared as if Syd was on Theo and Kee’s side, since he helped them get into Bexhill. After the birth of Kee’s baby, however, it becomes clear that Syd is motivated only by his own greed. He helped them get into Bexhill because there was something in it for him, and now he attempts to turn them in because of the promised monetary reward.
I was carrying the baby up the stairs. I started crying. I’d forgotten what they looked like. They’re so beautiful. They’re so tiny.
Everyone in the vicinity is awestruck by the presence of Kee’s baby, and the sound of her cry manages to halt the battle for a few precious moments. This quote is especially significant coming from Luke—he previously saw the baby as only a political object, a tool to use to rally people to his cause. In the few moments he spends with the child, though, he remembers just how special and important the child is in her own right.
I’ll call my baby Dylan. It’s a girl’s name too.
Kee says this to Theo as he is dying in the small rowboat, attempting to honor him and his lost son by naming her baby after him. This is an important gesture for Theo, because it means that although he is dying, his efforts have not been in vain. He has managed to make a change in the world at last, by getting Kee to the Tomorrow, and she recognizes the great service he has done and the many sacrifices he has made by naming her own child after his son.
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