4 July 2016


Philomena 2013
·       Director: Stephen Frears
·       Based on the book by Martin Sixsmith
·       Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Barbara Jefford, Anna Maxwell Martin, Wunmi Mosaku
·       Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
o   Judi Dench – Spectre, Hotel Marigold 2, Vicious, Hotel Marigold, My Week with Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides, Jane Eyre, Cranford, Nine, Quantum of Silence, Notes on a Scandal, Casino Royale, Mrs Henderson Presents, Ladies in Lavender, Die Another Day, The Shipping News, Chocolat, The World is Not Enough, Tea with Mussolini, Shakespeare in Love, Tomorrow Never Dies, Mrs Brown, Hamlet, Golden Eye, Middlemarch, Henry V, A Handful of Dust, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Room with a View, Macbeth,
o   Steve Coogan – In the Loop, Hot Fuzz, Little Britain, Tristram Shandy, 24 Hour Party People
o   Sophie Kennedy Clark – Dark Shadows
o   Mare Winningham – Swing Vote, Six Feet Under, Georgia, One-Trick Pony
o   Anna Maxwell Martin – Bletchley Circle, South Riding, Becoming Jane, Bleak House,
o   Wunmi Mosaku – Dancing on the Edge
·       Why? Judi Dench
·       Seen: 27 June 2106 with YW in our read-book-see-film club

      A film with Judi Dench has to be good and this film will without question be better than the book it’s loosely based on. The book was awful.
Young unwed Philomena gave birth to a baby boy she named Anthony. The nuns called her a sinner and made her give him up for adoption. It’s a fate that befell many unwed mothers and their babies in Catholic Ireland in the 50’s (and long after). The dreadful conditions were exposed in the book and film about the Magdalene Sisters.
Fifty years later journalist Martin Sixsmith is unemployed and desperate for a job. Philomena tells Martin about the cruel prison like conditions in the abbey and how when her son was four years old he was without warning taken for adoption. She was not allowed to say good-bye.
The search for Anthony begins. The Sisters of Mercy offer tea, biscuits, smiles and polite but firm ‘bugger offs’. But Martin perseveres.
Fortunately, the film emphasises what the book ignores – the relationship between Philomena and Martin.
It’s a feel-rather-good movie. It is, as expected, a lot better than the book. Without Dench, however, it would have been no better than all right.  But Dench delivers as always and raises it to

3* of 5

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