Pssst, want to check out Philomena in our new look?
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A beautiful movie about roots and connections lost and found. Premium performance by Dench who would surely bag an Oscar for a lead part at last if it wasn't for the powerhouse that was Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Coogan holds his own without trying to overstep into his leading lady's limelight.
Parts of the movie have been controversial because, well, how dare anyone tell the truth about the mistakes of the Church and the unapologetic way it tried to cover them up? But there's no agenda here, only the confrontations of a man who lost his faith and a woman who held on to them, through all the wrong-doings and the loss and the lies.
The poster somewhat lied to me, promising something more jolly and less adult than the final product, which ends up as somber, poignant, slow, and ultimately heartbreaking, gradually moving with the pace and presentation of a austere and conversational British TV drama. Judi Dench is captivating, but Steve Coogan also earns plaudits for a dry and comedically uncomfortable turn, wrestling with a bygone era's approach to bitter secrets. Unspectacular on the surface, but still waters run deep, brimming with a barely contained anger and full heart.
A packed story hampered by an overly condensed and at times disjointed plot. Rushed transitions, uneven tonality, and a religious/political agenda unbecoming of such a potentially significant production.
With all that said, I actually liked this film. As previously stated, the story was packed with potential -- the writer/director almost had too much to work with. And as father to a little boy, it was heart-wrenching. Yes, the plot was a bit disjointed, but other external aspects of the picture made up for it, such as the cinematography and the performances. The biggest miss in terms of tone concerned the very tricky line of trying to simultaneously express drama and humor. I felt that the jokes in Coogan's script, while funny in essence, were executed poorly and did not always plug in smoothly to the atmosphere of the scene.
The worst point for me was the filmmaker's agenda in regards to the religious/political themes. They tried to balance it out with Dench's naively faithful character but it was just too obvious that they were trying to superficially balance the two attitudes without actually swaying from the side they really believed in. Ultimately then, I found Philomena a bit condescending to the viewer.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!