Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:00

'Philomena' displays admirable, humane values + Video

'Philomena' displays admirable, humane values philomenamovie.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Related Video

About this Media...

  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Dates: Opens November 27, 2013

Based on Martin Sixsmith's 2009 book, the film "Philomena" is based on the true story of Philomena Lee. In a restrictive, Catholic Ireland in the early 1950s, a teenage Philomena becomes pregnant and, as with so many other such women, is sent to work at the Magdalena Sisters convent and home for those guilty of "carnal incontinence."

Working as virtual slave labor in the laundry, the unwed mothers are allowed one hour a day with their baby boys and girls. They must also agree never to attempt to find their children, adopted out for about $1500. Director Stephen Frears respects Philomena's traumatic experiences and her hopeful search, 50 years later, for her son. Fortuitously, she enlists the help of Martin Sixsmith, a recently fired ex-BBC journalist in Tony Blair's government.

Frears enhances the story by cross cutting between the early years and the investigation, exercising dramatic restraint, knowing no histrionics are needed for this heart-breaking tale. The most explicitly emotional scene occurs early with Philomena watching helplessly as her three-year-old son Anthony leaves with, she later learns, an American couple. During the subsequent search for Anthony, Philomena registers a series of more subdued but still powerful reactions.

As played by Dame Judi Dench, Philomena draws us in with acting that has no parallel today for its intensity and honesty. Truth by told, I'd go hear Dench recite the phone book, so amazing is her acting. Now 80, she's always been a phenomenon. Steve Coogan, as the journalist pressed to report this human-interest story, begins with resistance and a bit of disdain. Coogan's character and performance perfectly complement Philomena's, as he gradually and convincingly changes. He's a hard-nosed, volatile, skeptical atheist; she's a warm, direct, honest, forgiving believer. Frears milks some humor from her naïveté and lack of sophistication, but he also clearly admires her humane response to every setback, especially as the depth and breadth of the nuns' lies and cruelty emerge.

"Philomena" could so easily have become a self-indulgent, trite melodrama. Because of Dench's and Coogan's introspective portrayals and Frears' intelligent interpretation of Sixsmith's account, "Philomena" is a deeply, deeply moving drama that invites us to interrogate our own humanity. At a Landmark Theatre.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

December
Thursday
18

KDHX Discovery Series: Sidewalk Chalk

There are many lessons that come from age and experience. When one discovers such a thing, there's an inherent need to broadcast it to the world. This is that. With an eclectic variety of ages and experiences, Chicago based...


December
Friday
19

STL Square Dance - December

No partner needed, no experience necessary! Come out and experience the fun, brought to you by Folk School - a service of 88.1 KDHX. It's only $5 to get in, music by Three Crooked Men and the dance will be called by Wade Pearson....


December
Saturday
20

It's All About M.E. (Musical Edu-tainment)

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the 1960's to the present as DJ G Wiz presents a musical and visual mix of soul, hip hop, pop, r & b and jazz.


Online Users

4 users and 13490 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook