Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Movie Review: "Philomena" (2013)

Philomena (directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench & Steve Coogan, who also wrote the film) was the last of the 2014 Best Picture Oscar-nominated movies that I watched. And it was far from being last in line with respect to what I thought of it as it is a wonderful movie. It is based on a true story and the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.

Philomena Lee (played by Dench later in life and Sophie Kennedy Clark as a teen) was sent to an abbey by her father in Ireland in the early 1950's after becoming pregnant as a teenager. She has to work at the abbey for 4 years in order to pay off her stay, but her son is there and she does get to visit him. However, one day she is shocked when her son is taken away from the abbey and gets adopted out without her being able to say good-bye to him. She is traumatized and spend the next 50 years trying to find her son, but never is able to. Philomena's daughter Jane (played by Anna Maxwell Martin) meets journalist Martin Sixsmith (played by Coogan) at a party. Martin has recently been sacked (to use the British slang) as a Labour party government adviser, so he's out of work and contemplating writing a book about Russian history. Jane convinces him to dig into Philomena's story after he hears this shocking tale. And thus the search for Philomena's son begins. This search takes Martin & Philomena from the convent and then to the United States, where their journey becomes the most intriguing & heart-warming.

I truly enjoyed this film and Dench's performance is spot-on as Philomena. She does a wonderful job of portraying this poor woman who has been wronged all these years. She also plays the part with a quite a lot of humor and light-heartedness. But she also brings her very solid acting chops to this role as she channels Philomena's emotions perfectly. It was one of my favorite performances from Dench as it was very "real"...well done Dame Judi! Coogan's performance is great too and the chemistry between the two actors is excellent as this does end up being somewhat of a road trip/buddy movie...the two actors play off of each other very well. This is a heartfelt movie which isn't overly sentimental and that's part of what makes it so good. The story is heart-wrenching at times, but does end up making the viewer feel good by the time it ends.

I definitely liked Philomena...8.0/10 stars

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