From the opening scenes, Philomena does everything in its power to evoke emotion from the viewer, no matter what that emotion may be. We see Martin disgraced at the beginning of the film and we also see Philomena pine for her son. The film is overflowing with emotion. However it wouldn’t be a Steve Coogan movie without some humour and there was plenty of witty one liners from this comic actor to keep the balance right.”
The movie is set between Ireland and the States. It is in Ireland that we get to see the real beauty of the country with panoramic shots of the countryside to counteract the dark and disturbing nature of the film no doubt. The film not only deals with the reality of “fallen” women and their babies being taken away from them but it also deals with the wider topic of religion and poses the questions of why Catholicism punishes us for something that feels good? Questions that each of us should ask ourselves according to this movie.
Judi Dench gives a convincing performance as Philomena, conveying what 50 years of uncertainty has done to her down to a T with just the right level of emotion and humour to draw the audience in, while Steve Coogan plays the world-weary journalist doing anything for a story until he meets Philomena. It is in this relationship that they begin to find each other. They are intertwined and it is a joy to watch this on-screen relationship together with all its hardship and humour.
This movie pushes the boundaries of what modern society thinks is acceptable not only here in Ireland but also in the States. It questions the homosexual policy in politics in the States and why it needs to be hidden. At it’s very heart this movie is about forgiveness. It teaches us that no matter what happens in your life, however awful the crime, it is up to you to forgive and move on.
Philomenais based on real life events and I was very conscious of that right the way through the movie. I was touched by the story and I think it is a story that needs to be told. I do however think the movie fell short of telling that story. It turned in to just another Irish sob story movie for me by the end. If you like The Magdalene Sisters however this will be right up your street.