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Celebrated author Salman Rushdie co-writes this adaptation of Midnight’s Children with Toronto-based director Deepa Mehta (known for her elemental trilogy — Fire, Earth and Water). Children mines the epic and the personal by exploring the birth of a pair of children born at the exact moment when India gained independence from Britain and charting their course along with that of a nation struggling to gain its footing.

Rushdie’s novel invested the tale with a sense of magic realism — a host of children born close to the stroke of midnight arrived with unusual powers and a communal link to one another — that comes across as a clunky device, a weirdly inappropriate nod to mutants and action-heroics that could have been dropped from the adaptation without sacrificing any of the story’s thematic force. Following so closely on the heels of The Great Gatsby, filmmakers (and authors) should appreciate the idea that some narratives work best on the page. (NR) Grade: C