Limited release 11/22/2013
Viewed 12/10/2013 at El Con with Sheila (Happy Birthday, Laura!)
RT Critic: 92 Audience: 91
Directed by Stephen Frears
The Weinstein Company
Steve Coogan (who also wrote and produced), Judi Dench
My comments: (Spoilers abound, including a bit of ranting.....) This was a wonderful movie. Acting - yup, wonderful. Story - bittersweet, with a little more bitter than sweet. Leftover emotions - adding fuel to the fire to my deep dislike of the Catholic church. This was the retelling of a true story - with actual pictures of those real people just before the credits. Imagine being a young girl....say fifteen or sixteen. Getting pregnant after one (pretty wonderful) night with a handsome young man. Abandoned by your family, thus having not a soul in the world but a few other young mothers in your confined, ultra-religious environment (with lots of nasty nuns and a handful of nicer ones)...and an hour a day with your child. Add to that being ostracized, demeaned, and put into slave labor for four years. And then, when your child is three, having him adopted without a goodbye, with absolutely no information about where he went or what happened to him. Not your choice. You would have NEVER given him away......
So much spite, so much hate and un-Christian acts from the nuns at this establishment. Burning of all the records so that mothers and children could never reunite. Lying. Withholding information. It was one thing for this to happen in the early 1950's, totally another for it to happen in 2003. Grrrr....
Dench and Coogan were oh-so believable together. This relationship, if anything like the real one between Lee and Sixsmith, was pretty special.
Rotten Tomatoes: Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA 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. After starting a family