Philomena – 5 out of 5
My first thought when I started Philomena was, “I like Steve Coogan.” My second thought was, “Oh, Judi Dench is so adorable. I want to be her grandson and have her make me some chocolate chip cookies and knit me ugly sweaters that I will wear proudly.” And my final thought was, “Wow, this movie is great…it would be even better if Judi Dench was my grandma and brought me some cookies to enjoy while watching this.” Please adopt me as a grandson, Dench!
|I would make such a great grandson, Judi!|
|Sixsmith sounds like an Old West gunslinger's name.|
|At least the horrible truth isn't that her son went on to become a reality show star.|
Philomena is, and I’ll just say it right off the bat, just amazing. Why wasn’t this Best Picture? I already admitted in my review of 12 Years a Slave that, while it was a good movie, it didn’t feel like Best Picture material thanks to shoddy storytelling and a spectacle cast that was clearly latching on for the accolades the film was destined to have. Philomena, on the other hand, didn’t have these short straws. The film is terrifically put together and incredibly emotional. The story telling doesn’t feel like it jumps from point to point like 12 Years but rather it flows perfectly and you feel like you are on the journey of discover with Philomena and Sixsmith. Coogan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jeff Pope, wrote a solid, emotional story that really captured the human element that it was based off of.
|Don't get Coogan angry...you wouldn't like Coogan when he's angry.|
|Damn it, I'm crying just looking at this picture and realizing|
that Judi Dench will never adopt me as her grandson.
|"Alright, so we split the bill three ways..."|
Some have criticized the film for being “anti-Catholic” thanks to the truths that were revealed about losing Philomena’s baby but, when the Pope himself watches the film with the real Philomena and says, “That shit’s not anti-Catholic” (an actual quote that I just made up), then there’s no real argument for this accusation. In fact, even though the whole events of Philomena’s heartache was started by some very bad, very un-Jesus-like nuns, I didn’t think the film was being anti-Catholic in the least. The film wasn’t about showing the evils of the nuns, it was about Philomena’s journey and her finding solace and closure. Me thinks those who found anti-Catholic themes were missing the point of the film (and, thereby, missing great performances from Dench and Coogan) and are probably the same people who forget that Jesus teaches people to love each other and not use the Holy Book to stop people who love others from getting married.
|You want anti-Catholic? Well, take this! Just look at that nun with all her nun-ness...|
that's all I got.
Philomena is Best Picture material and with its heart-string-plucking story and inspirational performances, it should have been a front runner. And even though the Academy ultimately passed on the film, it proved to be an amazing story and a film that is capable of making you cry like the family dog just died and make you smile like you just got a new family dog.