Top critical review
8 of 10 people found this helpful
on 27 April 2014
Written and directed by awards winner Stephen Frears, "Philomena" stars the outstanding Judy Dench and Steve Coogan as strangers who become unlikely friends (despite of Coogan's character stiff upper lip) in the tale of a true story of one woman's search for a son she lost "to the system". Falling pregnant as a teenager in a catholic Ireland of early fifties of the last century, Philomena Lee was sent to the church institution run by nuns for the "fallen women". Philomena gives birth in terrible pain and is told to suffer through it, and when her beloved son is only a few years old, he is given away for adoption in America.
Philomena spends the next few decades silently grieving for her loss, she tries to search for her first child and is turned down by the establishment due to the confidentiality (and, of course, the convenient "fire" is claimed to destroy the records). And then she meets Martin Sixpence, who is in need of human interest story and off they go to on the trip to America, searching for Philomena's son and discovering themselves and each other (no, there is no love story!).
I am not sure why "Philomena" was marketed as a comedy, and an inspiring comedy at that. I thought the film was heartbreaking and disheartening. There is so much cruelty and unfairness portrayed in the film that even the amazing Judy Dench is not succeeding in adding a spoon of sugar to the barrel of injustice. Yes, despite the sad subject, Coogan and Dench produce abundance of smiles as the unlikely team, but I found it hard to watch the film and in the end, all the forgiving did not make me feel better.