Truth hurts

A lov­ingly-crafted tale of one woman’s search for her son.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By ROUWEN LIN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­ TURN TO PAGE 18


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


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