Philomena uses as it’s influence the story of an Irish woman called Philomena Lee (here played by Judi Dench) who grew up in the isolated world of an Irish nun’s home (or convent) and had her young boy taken from her. 50 years later she can no longer keep it quiet and gets her daughter involved in trying to locate him. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is one of the people they ask to get involved.
The first thing you notice is that it takes a little while to get used to Judi dench’s Irish accent! Once you settle in though, the two characters do have a nice rapport and an odd-couple relationship throughout and the film is an amusing, gentle watch most of the time.
The faux home-video footage which intersperses the story is a bit silly and it does fall flat shortly after the almost expected trip to America. I loved the reference to ‘The Great Fire’ in the convent and this is pretty damning of the Catholic Church / convents / nuns homes, but sympathetic to Philomena and her faith.
3 on 5
Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark , Mare Winningham, Barbara Jefford UK release: 1st November 2013