Movie Review: Philomena

Philomena movie still - Judi Dench & Steve Coogan

Dramatised true story ‘Philomena’ could inspire even non-Catholics

Nominated for four Academy Awards, this 2013 film (but only released in Malaysia this week exclusively at GSC cinemas only) is a dramatised adaptation of journalist Martin Sixsmith’s nonfiction novel, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, about Philomena Lee’s search for her son, whom the nuns adopted out to Americans 50 years ago controversially by force. With the help of Sixsmith who’s writing about about her story, the two embark on a journey to find the long-lost son in the United States.

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Brilliant performance by both the leads – Steve Coogan (Night at the Museum, Tropic Thunder) as the straightforward atheist Martin Sixsmith who’s desperate to complete his human interest debut with a bang, and Judi Dench (James Bond films) in her Oscar-nominated titular role, a heartbreaking but faithful Catholic lady who misses her long-lost son and is wondering how he has been in his life after being taken away from her by evil nuns at the convent.

Like most movies that were based on true story, Philomena is not 100% accurate. The surprising and inspirational ending, too, did not have happen at all in real life. But the film effectively explores the dilemmas of a sincere Catholic and the importance journalism, through a balanced mix of dry humour and genuinely heartfelt moments. The story is truly remarkable, even though the film may seem a little formulaic. The smart beer brand placement would probably drive or play huge part in maintaining its sales in Ireland too.

But one thing though…

Philomena movie still meme Steve Coogan & Judi Dench

What I would’ve named the film: “Evil Nuns”

Censorship in Malaysia: Didn’t watch it at the cinema but the most they could cut is the two or three F-bombs.

Second opinion: (watched it alone)

Verdict: Awkwardly funny and sad at the same time, with an inspiring closure, especially for hardcore Catholics and Christians.

Rating: 4 / 5

Philomena movie poster malaysiaBased on: Martin Sixsmith’s book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee”
Rated: P13
Genre: Comedy drama
Running Time: 98 minutes
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan

Malaysia Release Date: February 20th 2014 (GSC cinemas only)

Local Distributors
: GSC Movies
Studios: Pathé, BBC Films, British Film Institute, Canal+, Cine+, Baby Cow Productions, Magnolia Mae Films

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