A lovingly-crafted tale of one woman’s search for her son.
THERE’S nothing fancy to see here – no big drumroll reveal, no teary family reunions, no loud explosions, no rousing score.
But it is the movie’s simple and almost quiet storytelling, its wry humour, and its unhurried, easy grace in dealing with grim subject matters that endears itself to the audience.
On the surface, this is a story about a young mother who has a son born out of wedlock in an Irish-Catholic community in the 1950s, and subsequently has him taken away from her.
In return for the convent nuns taking in her sorry pregnant self and putting a roof over her head, she spends her days slaving over laundry seven days a week, with one hour each day set aside to see her son.
Then, without so much as a goodbye, the toddler is whisked away from her and disappears with an unknown family in an expensive car.
Philomena is the compelling story of her search for him, a journey that would take the next 50 years of her life.
But this movie, inspired by a true story told in the 2009 investigative book The Lost Son Of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, is so much more than just that.
It is a movie with depth that manages to tackle heavy – even controversial – topics while maintaining a certain kind of “lightness” and likability.
It is about faith, tolerance, hopes and dreams, reconciliation and forgiveness.
It is also a study in contradictions – pitching jaded and cynical journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) alongside the sweet, elderly Philomena (Judi Dench) who is consumed by guilt and her unwavering Catholic faith, makes for an unlikely pair.
But it is a match that provides lots of laughs, thanks to the duo’s brilliant acting and a tight script.
Good help: ‘are you Philomena or Patmore? Cos you sure look like the cook