Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a "fallen woman". When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him but with no success.Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off to America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena's son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between Philomena and Martin.The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss that ultimately celebrates life, showing that there is laughter even in the darkest places.
This is a great film, that tells the story very well, of a mother trying to find the lost son she gave up for adoption when he was a baby. She hires a reporter to help her find him . A story worth watching .
I knew going into Philomena that I would like it. After all it stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and it tells the true and incredibly personal true story of the titular Philomena (Dench) as she strives to find the son that was taken from her over half a century ago.
However the film mainly follows Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), a British spin doctor who finds himself fired from government and trying to find his way after his unceremonious dismissal. When he is told Philomena’s story he sees an opportunity to reinvent himself through their investigation as they travel to Ireland and Washington DC to find the truth of what really happened to Philomena’s child.
Hailed as the film to beat at the Baftas this year, Philomena definitely lives up to the hype as Dench and Coogan compliment each other with their very different personas with Philomena being a gentle hearted Irish woman who has spent years repenting for her perceived sins and Martin being an aggressive atheist, an angry man with good reason to be.
The film while based on a search for family is really a discussion of faith and it handles this search for identity through religion with care as Martin and Philomena find themselves trying unintentionally to persuade each other one way or the other. In fact director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) uses the films delightfully subversive script (Cowritten by Coogan) to emphasises one key element of the film that differentiates Philomena from all the other emotionally dense films of its genre. Martin and Philomena are never really close, they never connect in the way you would expect and while some may be offended or think the film lacked that bond it adds a sense of reality, an idea that these two people are performing a task, a task that while mutually beneficial doesn’t meant they have to like each other.
The film gets some of its best moments from the sense of debate between the two and without it the film would be dead in the water. Clever, bittersweet yet heartwarming at the same time, Philomena is easily the best British film this year and it would be hard to beat when the Baftas finally do come around