Tag Archives: Stephen Frears

Philomena

Director: Stephen Frears, Main Cast: Judi DenchSteve CooganAnna Maxwell MartinSophie Kennedy Clark

Judi Dence and Steve Coogan in Philomena

Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), former journalist and  “spin-doctor” for the Labour government, doesn’t know what to do with himself after he got the sack. While in this limbo, he stumbles on a good subject for a “human interest” story: Philomena Lee (Dench). Her tale of woes begins in Ireland in the early fifties when she became pregnant. Being a teenager she was shamed and abandoned by her family and forced to live in a convent, you know the go-to-a-nunnery type of thing. She lived there with her son, in rather appalling conditions, for a few years until one faithful day her son is given away to a well-to-do family by the nuns. Philomena keeps the secret for fifty years but, after telling her daughter, she sets out to find her lost son with Martin’s help. The film follows this odd couple of characters in a quest for truth that is also a journey of self-discovery for both. Judi Dench gives an extraordinary portrayal of Philomena: subdue and subtle, never forced or exaggerated; which is the real strong point of the movie and what makes it involving. I guess it is never easy to make a quality film which is based on a book based on a true story… this one feels a bit re-hashed and more focused on the journalist and his achievement, telling a riveting tale and doing something good in the bargain, than on the actual, far more interesting, story of Philomena. Somewhat disappointing, watch Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters instead! —6.5/10

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