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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-affirming
If I were C.E.O. of Kleenex or any other paper hankie manufacturer, I would get my name down as a sponsor of this film! The fact that the poignancy of the story is lightened by moments of laughter somehow makes it all the more real, but then it is a true story.
I have always admired Judi Dench (as has everyone else) and now I have a new-found respect for Steve...
Published 5 months ago by Zoonie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down
Not enough story content too many gaps. There seemed to be a lot of missing story. Should have been 1 hour longer
Published 11 days ago by Sandra White


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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-affirming, 7 Nov 2013
By 
Zoonie (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
If I were C.E.O. of Kleenex or any other paper hankie manufacturer, I would get my name down as a sponsor of this film! The fact that the poignancy of the story is lightened by moments of laughter somehow makes it all the more real, but then it is a true story.
I have always admired Judi Dench (as has everyone else) and now I have a new-found respect for Steve Coogan who is not only a superb actor but who also collaborated on the moving, subtle, tragic, comic, life-affirming script.
(A special warning to mothers everywhere......do not wear mascara to see this one! )
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78 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What price love?, 20 Oct 2013
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
Depressed by the collapse of his high-flying career as a Labour spin doctor, Martin Sixsmith tries to distract himself with a "human interest story". Philomena Lee wishes to make contact with the son taken from her nearly fifty years ago by Irish nuns, after they had allowed her to bond with him while slaving in the now notorious convent laundries to pay for their "charity" in giving shelter to an unmarried teenage mother.

Excellent as regards quality of script, acting and direction, this film is by turns unbearably sad and hilarious. Admittedly there are some stereotypes: the bigoted nun who feels that since she has kept her vow of chastity, anyone who has succumbed to sex outside marriage must pay the price for ever, or the hard-bitten editor who wants a good story at any price. There has probably been a good deal of dramatic licence in transferring the real characters of Martin Sixsmith and Philomena to the screen, but played by Steve Coogan and Judi Dench their personalities are strongly developed and complex. Coogan plays a man angered by injustice and determined to root it out, won over by the warm, frank and at times surprisingly broad-minded and perceptive Philomena, who does not hold back from commenting on his frequent cynicism, arrogance and dismissive attitude to those he regards as less intelligent. Dench portrays a still deeply religious yet fun-loving woman, whose simplicity and fondness for trashy TV series and happy-ever-after romantic fiction mask shrewd insight and tolerance. She realises the need to forgive others for one's own sake, but is not above passing up the chance to expose wrongdoing. Greater love has no woman than to think her child might have achieved a better life without her, after worrying for decades that he might be suffering somewhere, perhaps a hopeless tramp. What counts as a "good outcome" when the essential tragedy of separation for decades has been suffered?

Philomena seems too old to have a son born in 1952 when she must still have been in her teens, but this is a minor point, the price to be paid for casting Judi Dench in the role.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
So much nicer to enjoy a film in the comfort of your own home rather than at the cinema where you can have pop corn and cold drinks being consumed almost in your ear by the person sitting next to you and comments from the public at vital times in the storyline.Good value for money
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 26 Mar 2014
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with the majority of the reviews here, fantastic film , tough subject. The bad reviews are mainly about the outing of many of the Irish Catholic nuns - not all, sometimes the truth hurts but does have to be heard! I think both Judi Dench and Steve Coogan did a grand job! Make sure you have tissues ready.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary film, 25 Mar 2014
By 
Ellen Goudsmit "Ellen" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film this morning and I watched it again this afternoon. I've never done that in my life. It's exciting, it's well acted, it's a complete package for people who like a detective story with wit. In short, one of the best films I've ever seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film was well worth the watch, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
This film arrived yesterday and I watched it yesterday with my family, we all thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend to friends.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, emotional and poignant piece of film making., 13 Nov 2013
By 
P. DATTA "Pritthijit" (Stockton on Tees, Teesside) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
Philomena is inspired by a true story. It is about a disgraced government adviser Martin Sixsmith. He lost his job due to a serious matter. He becomes a journalist again, as he previously worked for the BBC. Immediately, he gets involved in a story depsite inital reluctance. It concerns Philomena an Irish lady, who kept a dark secret for 50 years. Philomena was abandoned in a convent as a teenager, as father disowned hearing the news of pregnancy. The conditions the girls endured were absolutely appalling and cruel. She gave birth to a child named Anthony and was cruelly forced to give up son for adoption rights. She could only spend one hour a day with her son. The film embarks on a emotional journey to locate the missing son. Will the journey end in happiness? The real truth behind son disappearance paints a hollowing and disturbing picture of the convent. The film raises serious questions. Will the truth be exposed? Will the convent be made accountable for their cruel acts?

The subject matter raised in the film is serious. There is humour seamlessly blended in the film. Philomena is a feisty character with many wisecracks throughout the film. The audience laughed out. Martin Sixsmith character is well developed. The bonding between the two leading characters is not always great, as there is conflicts on particular matters, but they do get on. The characters are believable and easily connectable, as they feel so real. Academy winner Judi Dench shows why she is an excellent actress. She plays the part of Philomena superbly and flawlessly. Steve Coogan, a comedian has adapted well to serious roles and expanding his repertoire of acting.

Phiomoena is a beautiful, emotional and poignant piece of film making. The British film industry continues to produce quality films. Philomena joins the list. The depth in storyline and characters makes stand out really well. I throughly enjoyed the film.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The message of this film is forgiveness..............., 21 Feb 2014
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly let me inform you that I am Irish and a Roman Catholic to set the record straight. Having seen the film I am absolutely appalled at the critism that one of the commenters namely Jude dished out. I know that everybody is entitled to their own opinion but to describe it as anti Catholic leaves alot to be desired. Remember that when this unfortunate event took place the Catholic Church was still in the stone age in Ireland but they also had a great influence in all aspects of people's lives including the politics. Some of the individuals in power at the time were just happy to wipe anything of a shameful nature under the carpet hoping it would never be questioned . If it did not take place in those convents we could not blame The Catholic Church, but it did. It happened to women who existed in reality and their babies. None of them had a say or a choice about their fate. The main message of the film is forgiveness. A woman's quest to discover the whereabouts of her son who was taken from her. She could have been bitter but she was not. Judi Dench is a class act in her role as Philomena and Steve Coogan deserves much praise as an actor and co writer of the well constructed screenplay. This film deserves its nomination as one of the best films of the year.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion!, 17 Dec 2013
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
What an excellent film this is? It's compassionate and witty but also ultimately shocking. I would guess that most who watched this had previously seen the `Magdalene Sisters, `which was also a great watch.
The 'Magdalene institutions' were a very big thing, both here, in America and also in Europe - from the 1750's to almost the present day . In the UK some 30,000 young women were sent to the `laundries' for hard labour to repent for their so called sins or that their parents simply disowned or couldn't afford them. Once there they were imprisoned in the system, some were abuse - mentally, physically and also sexually.
The Irish Government and Catholic Church issued a grovelling apology and acceptance of their crimes this year - 2013, after years of being pressed for the truth. It's very hard to comprehend but the last `Irish laundry' closed as recently as 1996.
History aside, this is a great little film. Possibly Cogan at his best and Judy Dench once again elicits all of her vast array of acting skills in portraying this particularly devout character.
A must watch in my opinion.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive and provocative portrayal of a real life story, 17 Feb 2014
This review is from: Philomena [DVD] (DVD)
I feel I have to respond to Jude's profoundly offensive review of Philomena. Having read Martin Sixsmith's book and watched the film upon which it is based, I am frankly appalled that anybody should dismiss the film as a 'pile of pathetic anti-Catholic propaganda'. If the reviewer could bear to accept that the story is based on fact s/he would surely acknowledge, as many Catholics do, that the church has a case to answer, not least for its systemic cruelty to young women in its care and its wilful denial of information to those to whom it could have brought such comfort. The film reveals a simple but thwarted journey of discovery, albeit one that does raise issues regarding the past conduct on the part of the Catholic Church. Personally, I thought the performances of Coogan and Dench to be world class: but that, perhaps, is a matter of taste. However I am at a loss to understand the relevance of the utterly gratuitous reference to children being incinerated, and I am baffled by the abusive concluding reference to Philomena herself: …'full of hate'. The real life Philomena, as portrayed in the film and in real life, is a gentle and compassionate soul: unlike, by all accounts, the callous bigot calling her/himself Jude.
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Philomena [DVD]
Philomena [DVD] by Stephen Frears (DVD - 2014)
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