Release year: 2013
Director: Stephen Frears
Screenwriter: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, Martin Sixsmith (novel ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’)
Starring: Steve Coogan, Judi Dench, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Barbara Jefford, Ruth McCabe, Peter Herman
Ratings: 4 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Judi Dench), Best Score, Best Adapted Screenplay.
When former journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is forced to look around for other things to do with his life. A young Irish woman approaches Sixsmith convincing him to meet her mother Philomena (Judi Dench) to hear her story. Said story turns out to be about how Philomena was forced by nuns to give up her baby boy when she was a teenager, something she has never gotten over and her desire to see if her son is allright has only grown over the years. Sixsmith decides her story is one worth telling, and together they set out to find out what happened to Philomena’s son.
Steve Coogan (What Maise Knew, 2012) has both written and stars in this touching movie based on a real story. He and Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011) deliver magnificent performances as two very different and unlikely companions, whose affections for each other slowly grows as they uncover secrets that have been kept from Philomena. There is some quiet and subtle humour when the differences between the two clashes, and especially caused by Philomena’s seemingly naive and extremely forgiving person, attributes that the very opposite Sixsmith finds difficult to accept. But as he time after time observes the strange woman he travels with, sees her reactions and the way she deals with life, he starts to realize that she is truly one of a kind and begins to gain respect for her. This is an incredible touching story, so unfair is Philomena’s story that it hurts to know it is true. The relationship between Philomena and Sixsmith is a moving study of human nature, and the way our life and even ourselves can be changed by the people who crosses our path. Watch it for the incredible performances and fall in love with Philomena.
Some of the flashbacks done with ”home movies” have been made for the film, while some of them are actual footage of Philomena’s son.
Picture copyright: BBC Films