Philomena

Posted on November 28, 2013

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Philomena –   Pregnant teenager Philomena is banished by her father to a convent. She’s forced to work,  more or less as a slave, to pay back the sisters back for her care.  The  mean and greedy nuns then sell her baby when he’s three years old.  Over the past 50 years, Philomena (Judi Dench) has tried several times to find her son.  Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is a journalist who has just been fired.  Although he’s depressed and angry, he agrees to help her.    Phil is a worrier, imagining all the worst for Anthony – she’s afraid he’s homeless or,  worse yet, obese.  After discovering he was adopted by Americans, they travel to the US.  It doesn’t take long to track Anthony, known as Michael, down.  Unfortunately, he died eight years prior.

The story doesn’t end there.  It seems Michael worked for the Reagan administration and was a closet gay  (you know those Republicans).  Philomena so wants to find that he thought of her.  She has tremendous Catholic guilt and she’s so forgiving of the nuns.  As they journey together, Martin and Philomena each learn they are stronger and better than they thought they were.

Based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith, it’s a beautifully done movie.  It also brings to light some of the practices of the Catholic Church in a fairly non-judgmental way.  One thing I couldn’t understand was why Michael’s adopted sister Mary (Mare Winningham) didn’t ask questions when she met Phil.  Both Dench and Coogan are very good here.  Beautiful Ireland countryside.

 

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