Based on the Book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, Philomena already has received standing ovations in its Festival Circuit run, including a warm reception from Critics and Moviegoers alike at TIFF ’13, with he distinction of being Runner-Up in the voting for the coveted People’s Choice Award. At long last this latest effort from Director Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) makes its way to Cinemas, another major Best Picture Contender in the mix early Awards Season.
Starring and co-written by British Thespian Steve Coogan, the Drama centers around an Irish Woman, Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) whom in her youth during the ’50s like many other unwed Women, were forced to give-up their Children by the Catholic Church. Her four-year-old Son Anthony we learn, is sent off to the United States. Out of a job, former BBC Correspondent Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) is determined to share this remarkable True Story with the World, committing to help Philonena in her search for her Son. What ensues is an emotional journey-within-a-journey, which has Martin and Philomena discovering more about themselves and Anthony than perhaps they had ever bargained for.
Driven by Award-worthy performances from Coogan and Dench, Philomena is a remarkable piece of Filmmaking which takes us through her anguished mind as she grapples with the regret of giving-up her beloved Son, while at once fearing the misconception she had abandoned him. Dench truly taps into this Woman’s soul here and we revel in delight at her hopefulness, while feeling her pain in this emotional rollercoaster ride to a shot at redemption and closure. Coogan‘s snappy-coolness strikes a perfect balance with Dench‘s maternal warmth providing much humour. He triggers dialogue about the Catholic Church’s corruption, highlighting with a fluorescent marker all the right questions we should be asking about the treatment these young Women had endured. Philomena in effect becomes a heartfelt surrogate Mother-Son Tale of sorts on its own with or without Anthony.
Without a doubt, Philomena is one of 2013’s most thought-provoking and well-acted Films – timelessly heartfelt and bittersweet. eOne Films releases across Canada on Friday, November 29, 2013.