Friday, January 24, 2014

Philomena [United Kingdom, 2013]

Nine Things About the Movie Philomena

1. The movie poster for this film is one of the biggest misrepresentations of a movie I’ve ever seen. It makes the movie seem like some kind of screwball road-movie-romantic-comedy for retired people. This is absolutely NOT what the movie is.

2. Based on a true story, this is a charming but heartbreaking comedy drama. It’s also simultaneously heartwarming, but without being sappy or saccharine.

3. It’s about a young troubled girl, Philomena, who goes to live with nuns in Ireland in the 1950’s. But this is not “The Sound of Music”. Not by a long shot.

4. Philomena is pregnant, and she is one of thousands of pregnant girls who work in convents almost as slaves, while the nuns sell the children.

5. As an older woman, Philomena decides she wants to find the son that the nuns took from her and sold to rich Americans. She teams up with Martin, an unemployed journalist, to help her solve the mystery.

6. What Philomena discovers gives proof to the old saying “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

7. Martin is an atheist, and Philomena is a devout Catholic. They have strong words for each other at different stages of their quest. It’s a fascinating partnership, and give an extra layer of depth to an already interesting story.

8. I’m used to seeing Judy Dench play smart, strong female characters. It’s pretty shocking to see her play such a timid, simple, religious woman going far out of her comfort zone to look for her son.

9. The movie is very critical of the Catholic Church, and rightfully so. The book that the movie is based on uncovered some very cruel and hypocritical activities of the Church in Ireland.