Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Philomena (2013)

Director: Stephen Frears
Writers:  Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
Cast:       Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clerk

A jobless political spin doctor picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her around fifty years ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in an Irish catholic convent.

The film is based on true events with Steve Coogan playing the role of former BBC journalist and spin-doctor Martin Sixsmith. It was great to see Coogan playing a normal kind of role in a drama, albeit with a great deal of humor. Like his character says cynically at one point when he first hears about the story, it is a human interest story for 'vulnerable, weak-minded, ignorant people'. This self awareness helps the film in not ending up as a melodrama largely because of Steve Coogan's script and the performances by the two leads. It also plays up on the odd couple road movie genre sensibilities with Martin Sixsmith being a posh Oxford-educated cynical atheist and Philomena, a religious and naive Irish old woman that many could relate to their mother/grand-mother. It is a very good watch that largely plays by the genre rules.

Rating: 3.5/5