Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, the film focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out-of-wedlock – something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of – and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts.
Philomena – Judi Dench Brings Tears To Your Eyes
Right the start of the film you just know that this is going to be one of those emotional dramas that will have you welling up towards the end of the film and it proves you right by having that effect on you.
The match up of Judi Dench (Philomena Lee) and Steve Coogan (Martin Sixsmith) did seem a little strange at first, with me being used to seeing Dench as ‘M’ in the recent outings of the Bond franchise and Coogan in his comedic roles such as Alpha Papa, but surprisingly the two work well together.
As the film moves along at its steady pace you are given the story of how Philomena met a young man and fell pregnant and was condemned by the Catholic Church for her behaviour, only to lose her child when the nuns adopt him out to a new family.
50 years on she is still searching for her son and getting nowhere, the nuns claim they have no information on his where he is, so teaming up with ex BBC man Martin Sixsmith then venutre to find out the truth and her son.
Using flashbacks through the film to give emotional content to the audience works very well and you feel for the pain that Philomena must have gone through, Judi Dench is superb as Philomena Lee and only goes to show that she is a very capable actress from TV sitcoms, action movies and emotional drams.
There are those moments of comedy put in to break the ice and these usually come from Dench, look out for a scene with her telling Coogan about a book she is reading while they are moving through the airport.
It is a lovely change to see a drama such as Philomena on the big screen and giving that it is based on a true story, brings it to your heart a lot more. Dench and Coogan are superb as Philomena and Sixsmith.
Not so much a film for younger audiences, it will appeal to the mature cinema visitors, but then again, it does have a wonderful story, if not a little sad. Certainly worth a viewing, but do take some tissues with you for the emotional content of the film.