Sorprendente y reflexiva historia.
Two-time Oscar winner Judi Dench hits a new peak in her acting career with a performance for the ages. Dench plays Philomena Lee, a good Irish-Catholic out to find her long lost son the nuns at the Roscrea Convent took from her 50 years ago. Dench's performance is inspirational and is the foundation for the film. She was nominated for Best Actress - in a Leading Role. This is her sixth Oscar nomination in her career. She meets Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), an atheist Brit journalist who not only tells her story but also helps search for her son. Coogan not only acted but also co-wrote and produced this film. He does a tremendous job as the skeptical journalist who talks down God and the purpose in life.
When Lee goes to Sixsmith and asked him to help search for her son, he is torn between writing a good journalism story or finding out the truth of what happened to her son. Director Stephen Frears (The Queen) exposes the wrongdoings of the Catholic Church's past and the nun's hypocrisy. Throughout this film we see the how people still fall short in life and hiding old sins under the rug will never go away, like the nuns thought they would. Lee is able to still rise above all the immoral corruption of the Catholic Church and still holds her faith close to her.
Through the highs and lows throughout the film Lee and Sixsmith's chemistry deepens and Sixsmith starts looking at life through a different perspective. In one of the last and more emotional scenes, Dench shows us the true power of forgiveness at the end. This incredible story needs to be shared to everyone. It will surely tug at your heartstrings.
When others don't wish us to know to cover everything up and hide evidence of their existence. When we know that if we follow the source and clues we will get to what we need to know.
When we do know that times were difficult living in such places that it needs to be seen by those that don't know such places existed. When we don't see that there is this place where lives are worth a price to legally purchase, we only know a few knew across the country that makes knowing such precious items exist, Americans are first to know. When we know such institutions that hide behind the vail of something holy can hold secrets to profit from the unfortunate when no other institutions were available to make the world know such things were happening.
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) It seems as though Judi Dench can portray almost anyone. Lets recap.
SCOTT: We meet an elderly Irish woman named Philomena (Judi Dench), who had a son while she was a young teen. Her family was so ashamed that they sent her to a Catholic convent where she worked seven days a week and was only allowed to see her son one hour a day. One day the convent gave her son to adoptive parents without allowing Philomena to say goodbye to him. Fifty years have passed since this painful day, and now Philomena wants to find out what happened to her son.
GREG: The trail leads to America where Philomena and investigative reporter Martin (Steve Coogan) fly to find the adult son. Philomena has been thinking about him for 50 years and is worried that he might be homeless, or sick, or God forbid, obese. What happens next is an amusing fish out of water story as Martin and Phil traverse America in search of her long lost son.
SCOTT: Greg, Philomena is a charming story that chronicles two different hero journeys. First, there is the tale of a woman searching for a big chunk of her missing past. She s looking to recover this missing quality and we, the audience, derive great satisfaction seeing her handle both triumph and setback as her story unfolds. But there is an equally interesting story of a journalist, Martin, who is also looking to recover from a serious blow to his career. He believes that pursuing Philomena s human interest story is the means to restoring his professional dignity but he discovers that the story carries more personal weight than he ever could have imagined. Both of these hero journeys contain enough surprises and intrigue to keep us keenly interested throughout the movie s 98 minute running time.
GREG: True enough, Scott. Martin is a confirmed atheist, having rejected the Catholic church. He is a constant contrast to Philomena s steadfast faith. Despite all the nuns did to her and the pain they caused by taking her son from her, she never wavers in the power of her beliefs. There are a couple of missteps in an otherwise fine screenplay. One involves Mare Winningham who gets star credit for a single scene where she plays the grown sister to Philomena s lost son. The scene adds little to the movie and the sister seems to have lost interest in her brother and her Irish roots. It s a bit confusing.
SCOTT: At first, we have trouble taking the character of Philomena very seriously. She initially comes across as na ve and ditsy. But as her story unfolds, we begin to appreciate some hidden heft to her character. She ends up showing more maturity and grace in the face of adversity than we could have imagined. And we see her embodying Christian ideals far better than the Catholic nuns who mistreated her for years. Her hero journey is a delight to watch, and it is captured nicely in Martin s recitation of a T.S. Elliot quote about finally coming home but seeing home in a fresh new way. Martin s hero journey is less settled but no less interesting. He believes that his atheistic perspective gives him greater clarity but the movie suggests that this clarity comes with a price. There is much food for thought about how Martin s life will be changed by this experience.
GREG: Scott, Philomena is a non-traditional buddy story. I was captivated from the start. Dame Judi Dench does not disappoint. She has created a complex character full of life, and whimsy yet still wise. I enjoyed this movie and give it 4 out of 5 Reels. The two-handed hero s journey intertwined these characters and gave those with and without faith an opportunity to look at the world through the other s eyes. I give our heroes 4 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:
SCOTT: Greg, I agree with you that Philomena offers a unique dual-hero journey that compels its audience to think deeply about issues of faith, ethics, family, and conscience. There is a rare wisdom in this movie that moved me and challenged me to re-think my perspectives on religion, secularism, and life in general. Like you, I award this movie 4 out of 5 Reels. But I m going to bump up the hero rating to 5 out of 5. Philomena s hero journey is wonderful to behold. She is no doubt forever changed by her experience and we can see a lovely transformation of understanding, compassion, and wisdom in her character. Juxtaposed with this is the more uncertain hero s journey of Martin, who is affected in profound ways by the journey but one gets the feeling that unlike Philomena, Martin has a lot more processing to do to truly appreciate what has happened to him, and to them both. These two very different hero journeys, and how they are intertwined, impressed me greatly. Hence the full 5 out of 5 hero rating. Movie: Hero:
Before looking at the form of the film, one would look at the context of the film. The story exposed a form of oppression against teenage mothers with excuses of following the will of the bible. However, this oppression has provided for churches an income to stay by putting children for adoption for a certain price. Nowadays, this treatment has faded to the ground due to the lack in God's existence in people. Strangely even after leaving the church for many years, the protagonist (Philomena) continued to treat the nuns in the catholic church of Sean Ross Abby well, which showed great devote to the God and Jesus. Judi Dench's portrayal of this honest and religiously devote woman was superb, with elements of good emotional expression and tone. On the other hand, the character of Martin opposed that of Philomena. He believed that what the church did was unforgiveable and needs to be address. This character presented the audience's emotions from now then regarding the church's actions towards Philomena and her son. The film did not present complex cinematic techniques the simplicity of the techniques mimicked the subtle air surrounding the film as a whole.
For Philomena, the significance was both in the words being spoken, since the film was dialogue-heavy, and in facial expression in particular the focus seemed to be on the expression of the eyes. This meant that throughout the film there were a lot of close-ups focusing on the character's face and body within the shot. these techniques were very simple, moreover, the intent was very obvious: watch this person's face. This is because a person's face will tell us a lot more about what the characters thinking and feeling than what can be said during the dialogue. Another thing to appreciate in the presentation of the film is the static look of the movie. there were lots of moments where the audience is staring at a car driving down the road or people walking along. Nothing too complicated.
A great example of this is when the movie portrayed the oppression and the prejudice that occurred in the catholic church. the cinematography was nothing too extraordinary; the scene was taken with polished angles and the lighting was dimmed. This set the gloomy atmosphere that the film was portraying. This style of cinematography was done to try to mimic reality in order to capture the emotions of the audience. In addition, the film was not told chronologically, it was edited using flashbacks and the home videos to represent what has happened in the past. the film was color-corrected to present the struggles and emotions through less-saturation.
Philomena goes for some gags, but at the center of the movie lies a powerful drama. While the film has a sentimental feel that according to the words of Sixsmith 'weak-minded, vulnerable ignorant people" it also builds into a striking and surprising contemplation on the dilemma of religious belief.