Philomena Movie Review

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My mother dragging me to Liberty Hall on a freezing afternoon was irksome enough but, when I learned I was headed to an hour-and-a-half installment of a run-of-the-mill sob story, I prepared for the worst. Instead, “Philomena” took me on a thought provoking trip of laughter and contemplation.

“Philomena” is based off a true story of Philomena Lee, a woman that was impregnated as a teenager in Ireland in 1952. She was forced to live in a Catholic convent specifically for unwed mothers paying off their “sin.” Here, she cleaned laundry and was required to sign away her parental rights of her child. Philomena only was allowed to see her son one hour a day until he was sold to an American couple at the age of three along with her best friend’s daughter. The Catholic church would sell these girl’s babies to rich Americans, often blatantly ignoring if the families were acceptable for adoption. She never saw him again, but she always thought of him.

Philomena, after 50 years of silence on the matter, tells her daughter about her first son. By chance, her daughter serves the grumpy, just fired Labour government advisor and past journalist Martin Sixsmith at a party, and tells him about her mother’s story in the hopes of it becoming public news. At first, Martin Sixsmith is uninterested for the cliché “human interest story.” However, he hears Philomena out, and decides to begin his story and the search her son.

Judi Dench as Philomena Lee and Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith prove to be a witty team. The contradicting personalities and overall levels of education of their characters generate some cute and laugh-out-loud moments.

The story isn’t just a clichéd sappy tale of a mother reuniting with her long lost son; it doesn’t have a happy ending in those regards. Though Philomena’s ignorance protects her and blinds her, it gives the watcher a sense of what forgiveness actually is. During the final scenes, while my mother started sniffling next to me, were the moments that the film touched on some heavy topics about ignorance and intelligence while also questioning the different views of right and wrong.“Philomena” is an unexpectedly thoughtful movie, putting many impressions and feelings through the brain, even after walking out of the theater. “Philomena” overall was worth the mind-numbing weather and the time out of a day off school.