Friday, March 14, 2014
Philomena by Stephen Frears, 2013 (PG-13)
with Judi Dench (Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Chocolat, J. Edgar), Steve Coogan (What Maisie Knew, Ruby Sparks, Our Idiot Brother), Sophie Kennedy Clark, Anna Maxwell Martin, Ruth McCabe, Barbara Jefford (The Deep Blue Sea), Kate Fleetwood, Peter Hermann, Mare Winningham (Mirror Mirror, Mildred Pierce), Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)
From the director of Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight and Dirty Pretty Things
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee, mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith, a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son.
Philomena is an interesting movie, told with a very naive point of view, but of a terribly tragic story. One that reveals a society of the 60s when religion was able to make you a sinner for the rest of your life, but also a powerful business administration, where poverty was just a facade. The story of the son is also symbolic of how the 80s in their own way were backward. Philomena, as naive as she may look like, is also a nurse who has seen it all, so it definitely is confusing when it comes to her fundamental views and shame. Steve Coogan is excellent, Judi Dench as Philomena is definitely unsettling, but I don't know if it is because of her character and how extreme are the different positions she takes over time, or if there is a discontinuity in how she portrays Philomena, and I know how amazing is Judi Dench, so definitely, the movie left me unsettled.