The Kite Runner and the issue of childlessness

By Nina Steele 

On a recent trip to the Isle of Skye, my husband and I stumbled on the film adaptation of the best-selling book: the Kite Runner. It just happened to be among the DVD’s that were on offer in the cottage we were staying in. Neither one of us had read or heard of the book before.

Before watching a film, it has become customary for us to check if there is a good write-up about it and naturally, the Kite Runner scored very high. It is without doubt one of the best films I have seen in a long while, even though some of the scenes were quite challenging at times.

I think it is fair to say that the film has left an indelible impression on me. It is one of those films that make you want to be an even better person. Not only were the characters quite believable in a way that is often missing in many films, but also, the depth of the story itself made me forget at times that I was watching a piece of fiction. What struck me most in addition to the deeply moving themes of courage, extreme loyalty and redemption, is the fact that unlike most Hollywood stories, the main character and his wife are childless.

I cannot recollect a film where childlessness is given such centre stage. In almost every film I have watched, families always include children. And so, it was quite refreshing to watch a storyline in which the couple at its centre has problems conceiving, and that I could identify with.

In addition to the fact that the main couple in the film is unable to conceive, their marriage is depicted as a deeply loving one, which inevitably made me think of my own marriage. I also liked the fact that their childlessness was not turned into a negative theme and instead, there was an implied acceptance by the couple that this was the path that was meant for them. What a strong message to send younger audiences I thought.

Of course, the couple ends up adopting the man’s nephew. Even so, the fact that the subject of childlessness, which is generally overlooked by Hollywood, was given centre stage, can only be a good thing. The struggles of the millions of people around the world, who have trouble conceiving, and often feel marginalised in a child centric world, was at last being shared with a global audience.

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