Country: UK / USA
Movie Review: English helmer Stephen Frears returns to the right track after the recent mishaps in his career, as were the cases of uninteresting “Lay the Favorite”, or the completely tedious “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”. Based on real events, “Philomena” was set as a traditional drama, but presented an openness and empathy that made it stand above other similar dramatizations. In addition to the good story, everything worked just perfect here due to the performances. Judi Dench was simply incredible as the desperate Philomena Lee, running against time to find the son who was taken away from her, 50 years before, when she was confined to an abbey in Roscrea, Ireland, as a pregnant teenager. Steve Coogan also did a good job as the inquisitive BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, the man who got sensitized by Philomena’s story and made all the efforts to reach the truth. The sadness associated to the events and the infuriating revelations about Irish-Catholic church shouldn’t leave anyone indifferent, but how amazing was to see that Philomena, instead of being mad with them, was able to find peace in her heart by forgiveness. The film intelligently managed to convey all the resignation and compassion without being lame, sparing us to exaggerated heaviness and even adding some charm. Coogan and Jeff Pope were awarded with the best screenplay at Venice, festival where the filmmaker Stephen Frears was also distinguished with eight prizes for his career.