Brief Reviews: Philomena

December 18th, 2012, 12pm

If you’ve considered seeing Philomena, be ready for a roller coaster.

From the charming Irish accents to the dark side of the Irish convent system. From the quaint ‘daft’ comments made by Philomena to the moments of alarming clarity with which she sees the world. From the heart-warming premise to the heart-breaking reality of the story. Philomena is, I am glad to report, a strong Oscar contender from our friends across the pond. I don’t think it will win, but I think it was rightfully nominated.

Steve Coogan—and I may be one of the few people on the planet who can say has no recollection of seeing him in a movie before—is charming and redeeming as Martin Sixsmith. As a former UK expat, it was lovely to get whacked upside the head by this clearly English man, especially as he sees the US in simultaneous comparison with Judi Dench’s older, wiser, and more open-minded Philomena. Together, they are an engaging pair, and given that most of the movie is just the two of them, their on-screen “chemistry,” (not romantic, obviously, but in case you got confused) is part of what makes the whole story come to life.

This is a story about humans facing human problems, a common theme in the Academy Award nominees this year. This is one of the movies that is so close to home that I would find it hard to be friends with anyone who didn’t feel something when watching it.

Adrian, David Wade and Katherine said thanks.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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