Stephen Frears, winner of two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, hopes to move audiences again, this time with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan relaying the story of the 2009 book, “The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee,” in Philomena.
Coogan plays a semi-disgraced journalist, Martin Sixsmith, who once worked as a BBC correspondent in Moscow, but isn’t on anyone’s short list these days. He stumbles into a story, though he isn’t a fan of “public interest” journalism, and meets Philomena (Dench). She’s looking for her son, who was given up for adoption by nuns some fifty years ago.
The Philomena trailer showcases a rare charm that both Dench and Coogan pull off, and if we’re getting an accurate look at their chemistry, this one is going to be a treat.
True stories have a special place in the hearts of fans, but seeing “based on a true story,” can turn off certain audiences as well (generally, myself included), but this one looks as though it moves past merely the plot outline, and takes us into not only Philomena’s world and struggle, but Martin Sixsmith’s as well. As much as the story is custom-made to be moving and heart-wrenching, there is something to be said for the story of meeting just the person you need to meet, at just the moment you need to meet them, and it cuts both ways.
The film was met with a standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival this year, and if you can judge by a trailer, it will be earning a lot more positive response when November 1st rolls around.
Philomena Official Synopsis
Philomena is the true story of one mother’s search for her lost son.
Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a “fallen woman”. When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him in vain.
Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off for America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between them.
The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss and ultimately celebrates life. It is both funny and sad and concerns two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places.
The book “The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee” was published in 2009. It acted as a catalyst for thousands of adopted Irish children and their ‘shamed’ mothers to come forward to tell their stories. Many are still searching for their lost families.