Philomena Movie Review
- No Useless Side-Stories
- Occasionally Witty and Funny
I had heard very good things about Philomena going in. Most have been saying that Judi Dench is Oscar-worthy. Other than performances, I had not heard much about the film. Philomena is directed by Stephen Frears who directed the film The Queen from 2006. I walked out of Philomena pleased with the film, but I was not surprised by much.
In the positives, we have of course Judi Dench as Philomena who is magnificent and charming in this film. She was charismatic and brought a whole new level of depth and even emotion to an otherwise surface value film. I do agree that she is nomination worthy but not quite a winner through all the competition surrounding her. Cate Blanchett from Blue Jasmine was just too impeccable to dethrone. However Dench was still the standout of Philomena.
Another very note-worthy performance was from Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith as former BBC News Reporter, or journalist. He was actually laid-off and gets back on the horse to cover an interesting Human Interest story. This story being of Philomena Lee trying to find her son that was taken away from her after giving birth at a convent as a nun. This being against their beliefs, take away her son away and is adopted in America. He travels with her to reunite with the son. Along the way are twists and turns that are not expected. But back to Steve Coogan, he plays a faithless, fact-seeking man, who brings out a lot of witty lines and adds some comedy to the film.
One thing I was pleasantly pleased with was that Philomena was not a road-trip movie. It was not them traveling around and getting into a bunch of sticky situations. Everything that takes place is story related. Very little of this film is off balanced from the story.
However there was something story-related that just bothered me. This being the first-act where we see her memory of her son being taken from her, and all that led up to it. This felt entirely spoon-fed and unnecessary. It felt like an honest attempt at trying to make us feel for Philomena more, and I did not. I cared for character and I wanted the best for her in the end, but none of it had to do with seeing these memories.
Another slighter issue that I had with Philomena was that there was a fair share of forced humor. Some parts in the film were added in just to add a goofy-side to Dench’s character; like I mentioned, forced and weakly portrayed, coming off as manipulative.
Aside from the acting the best thing about Philomena is just the overall charm. It has a level of sweetness to it that will warm your heart. Most of this is delivered through the Judi Dench. I could not say that Philomena is a great film, but audiences will like it and so did I.