Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Movie Review: Philomena

Hi all!

Another movie review this time!

Title: Philomena
Director: Stephen Frears
Writers: Steve Coogan (screenplay), Jeff Pope (screenplay), Martin Sixsmith (based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by)
Stars: Judy Dench, Steve Coogan
Release date: 28th of February 2014 (Estonia)
Genre: Drama


A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.


I didn’t even know this was in the running for 4 Oscars when I saw it, so now I’m thinking back on what made it so special to be nominated (except the best actress nomination), because I wouldn’t have really thought it had gained such favor and popularity with the academy, that, of course, based on my first impression of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, this was an exceptionally heartwarming and emotional movie that played on just the right buttons of my feelings of injustice, anger, hope, forgiveness and contentment, and all that quite masterfully without any hint of phony or artificial in it. Just plain genuine and pure feelings. Still, I felt there was something missing (quite minor I have to add, but still) or maybe I just didn’t understand or agree with everything and that made me iffy.

I won’t discuss the whole movie, but I will just, in short, bring out some positive and negative emotions/ideas I got when watching the movie.

Some things that left me scratching my head or I just didn’t like:

1. Why did she say what she said to Sixsmith at the end? I completely understood his sentiment and agreed with him, but her reaction baffled me. Maybe I’m also jaded and unforgiving, but I can’t help but agree with him. After that I looked at her differently and, at least for me, she lost ground on how much I was fond of her. I just couldn’t understand, maybe her reasoning not included (which did sound about right), but how easy it seemed it was for her to just brush it all aside. Again, I get that it’s about perspective, choice and character, but I simply couldn’t agree with her… Ok, enough about that!

2. I came to this movie expecting less drama and more humor. I ended up getting heaps of drama and some fine pears in humor, but I would have preferred it to be more one or the other, either total drama or more humor. It kind of left flowing in the middle for me and for some reason I didn’t like that mix.

3. The nuns made me so angry! Oh, but, discussing their role and reasoning in this movie is the stuff great debates are made of. There were so many facets to it, even positive I have to admit.

Things I loved:

1. The warm companionship and subtle friendship that formed between Philomena and Sixsmith – two people with such different views on life, experiences and places they found themselves at.

2. I thought the revelation and faith of Philomena’s son and how and when it was revealed was surprising and I didn’t see it coming that way at all, thus it was exciting and gripping.

3. How Philomena kept telling Sixsmith about the books she read and the plots. It was hilarious! Highlight of the movie. Oh, and the Ryanair comment – brilliant! Overall, the little humor this movie had, it was top notch.

4. The acting: Judy Dench was so naively sweet and subtly genius in that role. She made me cry like a baby and then restored my faith in humanity again, and then cry like a baby again. She was just full of hope and everything sunny and warm. Steve Coogan was perfect as the crouchy, miserable and with a constant raincloud over his head Sixmith. He really felt tired and miserable and with all positive life having flowed out of him. Luckily for him, there was a part that didn’t want to totally fall into desperation and wanted to fight. All in all, both actors did a superb job.


A simple warm movie that brings about so many different emotions, though I felt there was something lacking (as usual I can’t explain what exactly). Still, if you want to submerge in feelings of all sort, take some time to sit down and enjoy this lovely movie.

4 stars!



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