Far too many of us will have been able to empathise with the separated couples shown in this film, and whether your feelings for each individual were sympathy or empathy, what this film’s purpose was wasn’t entirely clear.
Made to recognise that landmark of twenty years since the Children Act came into being, I’m at a loss to find anything much to celebrate here…
Though the Children Act and subsequent guidelines issued to Family Courts about keeping the welfare of children at the forefront of everything, that hasn’t extended to many of the individuals involved who use their children as weapons.
Women, I’m ashamed to say, are notoriously good at doing this, and in Juliette – who’s in the midst of a bitter split from Alex – her revenge came by way of four little boys. Despite court orders and dropping herself in it with at least one lie exposed on film, her rancour remains steadfast and she continually denies Alex access to his children.
Why? Spite, plain and simple. And because she can. It’s a power thing and as is far too often the way, and clichéd though it is, it’s the kids who’re suffering.
Another couple featured though – Chris and Angela – were doing their best to make sure that courts didn’t have to get involved. They were trying very hard to keep the wellbeing of their children front and centre, and to avoid allowing their personal animosity towards each other be evident in their presence.
Unfortunately, events overtook those honourable sentiments somewhat, but even in the midst of fraught and heated ‘discussion’ about money matters, nonetheless, for Chris and Angela, their children remained what mattered.
But again, marking the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Children Act seems something of an overreach as a reason for this show’s being. It’s basically a fly-on-the-wall look at how anger and falling out of love can cause ructions, and that’s nothing new, Children Act or no.
So is this programme of any real value or serving a purpose? Well, I’d say not; it’s just a video diary of how much hurt can be caused by the cancer of hatred.