Tuesday, January 07, 2014

1952 - Philomena

I saw this on the weekend with my lovely wife - she doesn't get to see as many films as I do and so it was her turn to choose and I was really impressed with her selection - I hadn't even heard of this film to begin with, but I'm a big fan of Steve Coogan and I like Judi Dench well enough.
There's this ridiculous poster for the film that's bright yellow and makes it look like a romp.  What a bizarre marketing move.  This is a film about a woman who, in her youth, got pregnant and sent off to live with nuns to have her baby, and then forced into labor while they raised her child and she was given an hour a day to bond with him - then three years later - the child is "adopted" by a family and she has no chance to know what's to happen to him.  That's the back story.  We start the story on the 50th birthday of her son, and learn that she's never spoken of him to the people currently in her life, including her daughter.  They get in touch with Steve Coogan who is a former journalist - currently an on-the-outs politician - who thinks the story is a mere puff-piece human interest story that he could write in his sleep, but as the details keep coming he realizes that there's a lot more to the story.
Stephen Frears is kind of a master of this kind of film.  It's funny in that wonderfully dry British sense, but it's also a bit of a tear-jerker in the real sense - not manipulative - it makes you really feel, and really care, and feel angry and sad when all the layers pull back.
It's still in theatres but doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere, which is a shame.  It's a damn fine little film.  Give it a shot if you can find it!

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