PHILOMENA (Theatrical Release USA 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.8|5.0 Stars ìììì

Philomena is: phenomenal and worth the ground it sits on. A best film for Judi Dench and Steve Coogan who make an inseparable team on screen. This movie bases its true story on Philomena Lee and her son Anthony Lee (name later changed to Michael Hess). It has a mature, but cleanly written, well-directed script.

Storyline

Eighteen-year-old Philomena (Sophie Kennedy Clark) attends a carnival, meets a young man, and gets pregnant. Her widowed father sends her to the Catholic Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Ireland where she gives birth, works, and has access to her child until he is about 3 to 4 years of age. The abbey sells her son to an American Catholic family. Philomena (Judi Dench) throughout her adult life looks for her child and finally with the help of British Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) finds a trail that leads to America.

Additional Thanks

Best Work for Director Stephen Frears. Thank you to Executive Producers Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Steve Coogan, François Ivernel, Christine Langan, Cameron McCracken, and Henry Normal for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Mary (Mare Winningham), Sister Hildegarde (Barbara Jefford), Mother Barbara (Ruth McCabe), Pete Olsson (Peter Hermann), and Michael (Sean Mahon).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The story is well portrayed with some serendipitous additions of scenes of a British woman’s first exposure to American culture which gives a precious, deeper insight into Philomena’s basic character. It’s a treat to see her masterful acceptance of each step in her difficult journey.

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Ben Meyers

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