For the 8th year, I attended the AMC Theater Best Picture Showcase. This showcase shows all of the best picture Oscar nominees. This year there are nine nominees including Philomena. Philomena is based on a book written by Martin Sixsmith called the Lost Child of Philomena Lee, which is based on a true story. This movie might seem like it’s boring, but it had a lot of quirky humor mixed in and that kept this movie interesting. This movie is nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress (Judi Dench), Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Plot: A reporter who seems to be at the end of his career gets convinced to take on a human-interest story. He meets this lovely Irish woman, Philomena, who was forced to live in a convent when she was young because she got pregnant out of wedlock. The convent took her son from away from her and adopted the son to an unknown couple. Over the years, Philomena has visited the convent to ask about her son. They always tell her that they don’t know anything about him because the records have been destroyed. Philomena decides, with the urging of her daughter, to let the reporter help her find her long lost son. They find out good things and what might seem to be bad things about her son as their journey takes them to the shores of the U.S. As they journey together they learn a lot about each other and discover some things may not be what they seem. The honesty and freshness of Philomena plays really well against the sarcasm of the reporter. There is some real laugh out loud moments due to the contrast of the characters. This might seem like a simple story, but it is a complex journey and one that you have to take yourself by watching this film.
Philomena is a well done film. It is well written. It flows well. There are no unnecessary scenes, and for me it didn’t drag at all. It was also very well acted which is essential for a movie like this one. The plot centers on the two main characters and if they don’t do a good job of selling you the story then there is no way you will buy into the movie.
Luckily, the acting is very well done. Judi Dench is fantastic as Philomena. Her character is believable and relatable. You are interested in the story because you are interested in this woman and the forces that have affected her life. You can definitely see why she is nominated for Best Actress. Steve Coogan is also excellent as Marti Sixsmith the washed up reporter who is cynical about life. He gets his worldview shaken a little by the extreme faith that Philomena shows. He learns a lot from her and it changes his character. He starts to care again. There are many supporting characters in this film all of which did a good job.
Overall, I really enjoyed Philomena. It was a story that needed telling. We need to know that you can still find happiness and faith even when bad things happen to you. Philomena teaches us that even though people are bad to you, you can turn it around and be good to the world. It is a lesson worth learning for all of us. You should definitely see this film.