4o of 366: Philomena


My blog posts are going to be a bit shorter today, which will be really hard to do, but I have a strict schedule to get through if I am going to watch No. 46 on my movie list by midnight.

To help, I may or may not be writing this post on a dramatic film about a woman trying to find her son while watching the final shootout scene in Hot Fuzz. It’s some cheating I have to allow myself to do today if I am going to meet my goal.

More on the buddy cop film done right later, because I finally watched Philomena.

I probably needed to put it off this long because we showed the Judi Dench and Steve Coogan film for several months at the Edina Cinema and was I a little bit scarred by the crowds of people rushing in to see it before the Oscars.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Dench and Coogan, who co-wrote the screenplay, but some of the plot points to lead to Philomena’s discoveries about her son were made too easy so Coogan, as journalist Martin Sixsmith, could get to the story and redeem his career reputation.

Sixsmith meets Philomena’s daughter, who tells about her mother’s past, and decides her story is the perfect human interest piece that can bring his career back — only to realize their journey together is more important than publishing it.

Philomena’s son was given up for adoption because of her “sin” having him at a young age out of wedlock. All records of where he lived and his new family were supposedly destroyed in a fire at the convent where she was forced to live and work.

Yet, once Philomena and Martin were in Washington, D.C. to find her son, a few much too convenient computer searches led to uncovering core details about his family, life and career.

Philomena is clearly a film focused on its characters, but it could have been more effectively balanced with the details needed to put together a decades-old mystery and cover-up of adoptions of young women’s children, especially given its basis on true events.

The performances by Dench and Coogan save Philomena for me, but I just wanted more from the story than what was condensed into 90 minutes.






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