Philomena Reviews

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December 22, 2013
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.
December 10, 2013
It's smart and unsweetened.
November 28, 2013
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.
November 27, 2013
We wouldn't care about any of this if the performances were weak. But both actors find complexity and depth.
November 27, 2013
At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.
November 27, 2013
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.
November 27, 2013
Dench is a delight, playing dowdy instead of her standard regal, and Coogan is appropriately droll and disillusioned. Together they manage to make a sad story feel somehow bright.
November 27, 2013
A true story that takes unexpected, unusually poignant turns.
November 26, 2013
The chemistry between Steve Coogan as a snooty journalist and Judi Dench as a retired nurse searching for her son brings humor and warmth to a harrowing tale of the plight of unwed Irish Catholic mothers in the 1950s.
November 26, 2013
Go beyond the manner of its telling and you find a story of cruelty and evil, of shocking acts committed under a veneer of civility and sanctity.
November 26, 2013
"Philomena" is a tearjerker of rare honesty and craft.
November 26, 2013
An utterly charming combination of road trip, odd-couple comedy and heart-touching true story that will leave few dry-eyed, "Philomena" rests comfortably in the lap of the great Judi Dench.
November 26, 2013
The story touches on some of the thorniest issues of Catholic doctrine and tempers its righteous anger with a tone more sad than bitter.
November 26, 2013
Director Stephen Frears manages to successfully walk the tricky line between comedy and dark drama. It keeps the audience off-kilter a bit, but in a good way; we shouldn't always need to know what's coming next, in terms of tone or plot.
November 26, 2013
Much of the beauty of Philomena, which was directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), lies in its odd-couple characters and the superb actors portraying them.
November 26, 2013
Dench, Coogan and sure-handed director Stephen Frears ("The Queen") keep the focus on character, and in "Philomena" they've got an earthbound angel.
November 25, 2013
It's simple and well-told, although nothing about it is breathtakingly original.
November 22, 2013
If not for the expertness of [the] actors, Philomena would be a sloggy journey indeed. Fortunately, Dench and Coogan are more than capable of turning water into wine.
November 22, 2013
A subtly told tale of tragedy and redemption, with much of the sentimental payoff you're expecting but several intriguing plot twists along the way.
November 22, 2013
The movie is overcalculating and occasionally coarse, but it has a gentle spirit. We should count its existence as a blessing.
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