The Children Synopsis

In a small cottage on the British coast, Hazel makes a modest life for herself and her husband Robin in the aftermath of a natural disaster that’s led to the meltdown of a nuclear reactor at a power plant. Hazel and Robin are retired nuclear physicists, having helped to open the plant in the 1970s. Now, ensconced in their vacation cabin while waiting for the government to clear their return to their farmhouse in the current “exclusion zone”, Hazel follows the rules, stays occupied, and is waiting it out.

So she is not expecting a visit from Rose, a former colleague she hasn’t seen in 38 years and one whom she thought dead. Not from the nuclear meltdown, mind you: the rumor was that she fell ill over in America, got better, and then committed suicide. The two 60-something women talk children (Rose has none; Hazel has four children and three grandchildren), career (Rose went to the US; Hazel stuck around), and the actual events of the disaster (Hazel got a first-hand view). But as they’re catching up, Hazel notices that Rose is unnaturally at ease in this vacation cottage, pulling out a hidden footstool, snagging a glass from the cabinets without breaking stride. Only Hazel and Robin have used this cottage for years, and Robin hasn’t seen Rose for years either, has he?

Robin spends his days back on their property within the exclusion zone, tending to the cows and packing a Geiger counter. He returns for dinner, and Hazel confronts her husband and old friend about their perhaps not-so-distant past. But Rose has come with a more urgent and unusual request, one that will change each of their lives.

Genevieve Henderson