Critic Consensus: Based on a powerful true story and led by note-perfect performances from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Philomena offers a profoundly affecting drama for adult filmgoers of all ages.
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Critic Reviews for Philomena
What at first seems formulaic comedy gains a deeper resonance as we see how they represent two responses to cruelty and injustice -- first outrage, and with time, eventually, forgiveness.
Even as Philomena embraces the expected feel-good dynamics, it avoids taking the usual path and doesn't paint all of the "evil" nuns with the same brush.
We wouldn't care about any of this if the performances were weak. But both actors find complexity and depth.
At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.
Director Steven Frears deserves special mention. A lesser filmmaker could so easily have turned this project into mushy, sentimental junk. The tear-jerking moments here are heartfelt and real. It's the kind of filmmaking we see too little of today.
Audience Reviews for Philomena
A remarkable film in every way. The acting was excellent -- a lifetime of pain and regret can been seen in Dench's eyes at certain times. The script was wonderful -- credibly showing different (but equally valid) reactions to unspeakable injustice by two people of different ages, faith experiences, genders, and educational backgrounds. This is one of my favorite films of 2013.
These two unlikely companions are on a journey to find her long lost son. Very Good FIim! Sometimes I get the feeling filmmakers have lost their way. Formulas work and make the basics irrelevant so we get carbon copy blockbusters appealing to the masses clearly showing a reckless disregard for what filmmaking is all about: visually telling a story. And then a film like Philomena comes along and reminds us of the magic that can happen when a true craftsman and artist skillfully blends the basic ingredients of story, character, camera, and music into an exhilarating and powerful work of art. This film is satisfying at every level and gives me hope that some people still know what they are doing when they take the money and do their job effectively. The folks on this one should be extremely proud of their efforts. When former journalist Martin Sixsmith is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is at a loss as to what do. That changes when a young Irish woman approaches him about a story of her mother, Philomena, who had her son taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent. Martin arranges a magazine assignment about her search for him that eventually leads to America. Along the way, Martin and Philomena discover as much about each other as about her son's fate. Furthermore, both find their basic beliefs challenged.
Phenomenal. Par excellence.
|Philomena Lee:||We come full circle.|
|Martin Sixsmith:||Yes ... the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time.|
|Philomena Lee:||Ah, that's lovely Martin. Did you just think of that?|
|Martin Sixsmith:||No, it's T.S. Eliot.|
|Philomena Lee:||Oh well never mind. It's still very nice.|
|Sister Hildegarde:||The Lord Jesus Christ will be my judge - not the likes of you.|
|Martin Sixsmith:||Really? Because I think if Jesus was here right now he'd tip you out of that fucking wheelchair - and you wouldn't get up and walk.|
|Philomena Lee:||And after I had the sex, I thought anything that feels so lovely must be wrong.|
|Martin Sixsmith:||Fucking Catholics.|
|Philomena Lee:||My Dad went to Catholic school and got my Mom pregnant. He married her. She hated me. She beat me. I wish she would have given me up for adoption.|