Philomena Review

24 Jan

Hello again ladies and gents, time for another film review and this one is one Philomena. This was a film I missed last year and when I saw that Cineworld were showing it again I had to view it and it was my main reason for going to the cinema yesterday. By the way I feel the need to mention that I think I was the youngest person in the screening with everyone else pretty much being old. So anyway, was Philomena good? Read on and find out.

The story can be summarised in the following write-up:

“When former journalist Martin Sixsmith is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is at a loss as to what do. That changes when a young Irish woman approaches him about a story of her mother, Philomena, who had her son taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent. Martin arranges a magazine assignment about her search for him that eventually leads to America. Along the way, Martin and Philomena discover as much about each other as about her son’s fate. Furthermore, both find their basic beliefs challenged.”

I loved the story in this film is incredible which has many twists and turns, but at its core it is a journey for truth and throughout the film gets more and more dramatic and tugs at your heartstrings so badly. While I don’t have children myself, I can only imagine the amount of pain and mystery that would come with having a child and then having them forcibly taken away from you at a huge age with you left to wonder what could have been. Two things that really get me in films is tragic love stories and tragic stories involving parents and their children. This film is so emotional, painful and beautiful aspects to Philomena’s story and the one involving her son, the story nearly brought me to tears and the film had my heart from very early on and that doesn’t happen very often.


In addition to the wonderful story, you have a cast of characters who are very good too, but the main performances from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are the real stand outs. Dame Judi Dench is in top form in as  Philomena Lee and gives one of her finest performances that I’ve seen from her. Normally Dench is an authoritative role like M from the James Bond films, but here this very different territory for her. She’s Irish, she’s playful, she’s frail and yet firm and not afraid to speak her mind. She also carries so many painful memories from her past and Dench acts with such conviction and care that you feel for her on such a deep level because the acting feels so real. Steve Coogan also delivers a great performance as Martin Sixsmith, he’s blunt, unapologetic, a bit of a know-it-all, but also has a heart and wants to do the best for Philomena. Sixsmith has firm beliefs and wishes to get to the bottom of a news story and Coogan plays him so well, he’s like the rough side of the pair whereas Dench is the softer half. Both Dench and Coogan have great screen time together and you can see them start to grow and care for each other over their time together.

Sophie Kennedy Clark also does young a great job as the young Philomena, she is so good and acts well, she is charming and cute, but also does her emotional scenes well too, when she had painful scenes it was so powerful and convincing. The only other person I wanted to highlight was Michelle Fairley as Sally Mitchell. For the longest time I was trying to figure out where I’d seen her before, it was KILLING ME! And it is only now that after I’ve been online that she was obviously  Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones. It was really bugging me haha. Anyway, I liked her role in this film, it was a little more aggressive and uncaring, but definitely enjoyable.


In conclusion Philomena is an incredible film which had me emotionally invested throughout. The story is something that will hook your heart from the beginning until the end. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are amazing and I think this is one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. Highly recommended.

Rating: 8.5 (it is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time)

So what did you think of Philomena? Whatever your thoughts are I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. 😀

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews


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