British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.
An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
When former journalist Martin Sixsmith is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is at a loss as to what do. That changes when a young Irish woman approaches him about a story of her mother, Philomena, who had her son taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent. Martin arranges a magazine assignment about her search for him that eventually leads to America. Along the way, Martin and Philomena discover as much about each other as about her son's fate. Furthermore, both find their basic beliefs challenged.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When Philomena is asking Mary if Michael ever talked about Ireland, she comments "no, not really" . In the book it is stated that Michael and Mary return to Ireland and talk to the nuns about finding his mum. See more »
When Coogan's character is holding the photo of Philomena's boy, and they show a close-up of the photo, it is the same close-up with Philomena's thumb in it, that we saw earlier, not a man's thumb. See more »
Steve Coogan has said that Philomena is his reaction against cynicism - his attempt to make an honest and fundamentally sincere film. The biggest compliment that can be paid to him is that, in these goals, he has succeeded.
It tells the story of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench, who is as brilliant as ever), an elderly Irish woman whose child was taken away from her 50 years ago by an austere Catholic convent. Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) is the cynical, know-it-all journalist turned government spin doctor, recently sacked, who is on the look out for a story. After a chance encounter at a party, Sixsmith reluctantly takes up the 'human interest' story of Philomena's search for her son, Anthony.
The key to Philomena is the relationship between the titular character and Sixsmith. And it works. It really works, in fact. His cynicism, bordering on arrogance, is matched perfectly by her simple and completely sincere belief in common human decency. It could easily have been overly sentimental, but Judi Dench in particular does a remarkable job of keeping it grounded.
There's some very dark stuff here, and it's a testament to the script that the film does not become overwhelmed by it. The Magdalene laundries were awful places, yet this story is not about revenge. I was almost cheering when, at the end, Sixsmith gives one particularly odious nun a piece of his mind. But moments later Philomena accosts him and gives me a slap on the wrist. She does not want revenge or angry confrontation. She just wants the truth. It's a remarkable act of forgiveness, and one that, like Sixsmith, I could not agree with. But then, I'm just another cynical and bitter atheist. I have to say, this film made me angry at myself for being one. And yet it also made me pleased I wasn't a Catholic. Go figure.
Philomena is an incredible and heartfelt story. It's desperately sad, yet never overly sentimental. There's some genuinely funny moments, mainly emanating from the contrast between the wide-eyed and refreshing simplicity of Philomena's world view and the weary wryness of Sixsmith. If you get a chance, see it.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this