Journalist Martin Sixsmith ends up picking up a story about an old Irish woman who after 50 years has broken her silence on the son who was taken away from her by nuns.
Now this film is certainly a very emotional journey as we head along with Martin to discover what became of Philomena’s long-lost son Anthony. Headed up by Steve Coogan and Judi Dench who are very well matched together and bring out fantastic performances in one another by the chemistry the two characters have. We still have some amusing moments which help lighten the mood at times, nothing silly just standard funny moments. Which you would more than expect to occur when an old Irish woman is placed with a upper middle class man.
The story is shown in flashback form at times and fits in really well showing Philomena thinking back to certain events and then when she is telling parts of the story. One of the biggest things we will take from this film and the way it is all told is that nuns are totally evil and the Catholic church has a lot to answer for. The treatment of the young girls (if they survived the childbirth) and then actually selling the babies/children to people! It really is terribly sad that this has happened in the past.
When Martin gets totally involved and realises that he does indeed have a story when things they have been told by the nuns do not add up, he really dives into what became of Anthony. This leads him to America and even takes Philomena with him, this really shows how much this got under his skin. It really was quite sad that the story ended up coming full circle and back to where it all began.
Performance wise it really is an incredible drama to watch. Steve Coogan (who I’ve never been the biggest fan of) really shows that he can indeed act, puts in probably the performance of his career as Martin Sixsmith. He manages to stay likeable even when you probably shouldn’t but I am sure you will understand that if you see this film you will totally be on his side in the end. Coogan will get some nominations for his performance come awards time I would like to predict.
Obviously Judi Dench is her usual fantastic self but that is aided in this film due to Coogan’s performance. She has a decent Irish accent and manages to pull off some very humorous things due to her age and the way her character behaves. Which makes you actually care about what is going to happen to her in the plight to find her beloved son.
I really do think this is one of the better films to be released this year, due to the high quality performances and the emotion it will make you feel from start to finish. You cannot help but let this film in and really think about the story and what has happened. I know some of it will be slightly different to what happened in real life but it is inspired by true events. Something like that always makes a film feel a little bit more than just a film.
I hope Coogan and Dench continue to receive a lot of praise for this film, I know it is already very critically acclaimed it’s been out in the UK now for nearly two weeks and the screening I attended today had quite a lot of people in watching it. So I think it could be a surprise package for pulling the audience in but I guess that is the Dench factor. So give this film a chance for the incredibly moving performances.