Releasing Date: 27 November 2013 (USA)
Director: Stephen Frears
Writers: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Stars: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan and Sophie Kennedy Clark
Martin Sixsmith is a former political journalist who has just been fired from his office in the British government. He decides to write a book but do not really know about what, when suddenly one day he gets approached by Jane Libberton.Jane’s mother is Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish lady who recently revealed a heavy secret she carried on for 50 years.
As a young unmarried woman gave birth to a son Philomena that she was sent away to the monastery as “taken care of” pregnancy. The child was then sold to wealthy Americans while Philomena got expiate his sin by working in the convent laundry for several years. Without success, she has over the years sought her child and now hope with the help of Martin asks what happened to his son.
The story is based on the book about the real Philomena, written by the real Martin Sixsmith. The film is directed by Oscar-winning veteran Stephen Frears who is back after a few tentative year with a work that re smells nominations long way. And indeed deserve to get at least a couple.
The great screenplay is written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, who already won a prize for it at the Venice Film Festival earlier this fall. Coogan also plays the male lead role and does it very well. He handles the added humor moderately dimmed so that it never takes over or becomes flabbigt, but just gives a nice glimpse into a really awful bleak history.
Much is of course thanks to the superb tactful Judi Dench in the title role. She is absolutely stunning! Her expression as the vulnerable and sympathetic Philomena is with very little funding so credible that no less to be like her from the start and curse her förgångnas terrible fate.
The chemistry between the two protagonists is a joy to behold. Their characters are completely different as people, but their interaction is smooth and full of care. Much of the film is almost reminiscent of a road movie, with the odd couple traveling in a search for a time gone by. The journey takes them across continents and changes, but also in a kind of mutual understanding linking the two, whose paths never under other circumstances had been crossed.
“Philomena” is a beautiful, warm and very British film. It is not grayed kitchen sink realism of social deprivation and vulnerability, but simply just a delightful film about reconciliation and forgiveness.