Emotional, dramatic, humorous. The journey taken by the characters is a fascinating one and Judi Dench perfectly executes Philomena’s more quirky moments where the film would be otherwise very dry. Recommended? This may not seem like the most exciting drama out there, but the story is eye opening and definitely one that should be seen.
The movie is based on the real life work by Martin Sixsmith about the journey of Philomena Lee in searching for her son from whom she was separated by the nuns at the abbey where she lived when he was only three years old. A few liberties were taken with some characters, but the story is a fascinating one regardless. Bouncing from one of hope to tragedy to determination, Philomena’s journey is unpredictable and entertaining all the way through.
This movie is driven by the strong performances from its two main cast members. Judi Dench truly steals the show as the title character. Playing this woman who has repressed her emotional baggage her whole life and is experiencing a major shift in her life, she delivers every line to perfection and knows how to balance Philomena’s more serious scenes and her quirky ones. Also impressive was her co-star Steve Coogan, who also wrote the screenplay and produced the film. His character, Martin Sixsmith, is also experiencing trouble in his life at this time, but he goes on a journey of his own, rediscovering the power of love and forgiveness and redefining success for himself.
At first glance, this movie looks like it is just a boring upper class drama about a woman who gave her son up for adoption many years ago and goes on some journey of personal exploration to find him. But in reality, the movie uncovers a major historic cover-up and said woman coming to terms with the injustice laid upon her in her past in her journey to reconnect with her son. The film is driven by strong performances and a story and dialogue that balance drama, emotion and humour perfectly.