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Steen: Philomena a must-see
This little movie, based on actual events, will touch everyone who sees it, perhaps in different ways, but the impact will be felt.
Based on a true story, as told in Martin Sixsmith’s book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, it follows the journey of Lee who gave birth, as a teenager at the Sisters of Mercy Nunnery in Ireland, and spent the next 50 years trying to find the son she last saw as a toddler.
Directed by Stephen Frears and also featuring Mary Winningham, this show depicts Philomena’s struggle to keep the secret of her son’s birth while hoping one day to find him.
This is a story of love lost, forgiveness, and never forgetting.
For those of us who were adopted, even by wonderful people—and mine were pretty terrific—there is that wonder: Did I ever cross the minds of those who left me behind; on that annual day of celebration of my birth did they ever whisper a soft Happy Birthday; and did anyone every try to find me?
This show gives us laughter, tears, heartbreaking revelations, and poignant moments and lets us know that there is always the choice to either cling to anger or embrace forgiveness.
Judi Dench, as always, is wonderful—she truly is Philomena and Steve Coogan (who also wrote the screenplay) as the cynical journalist is the perfect foil for Dench’s character and her quest to reach out to the past.
They need each other and the result is true magic.
The “flashbacks” in the film were done with home movies, but some were actual footage of Philomena’s real son.
In one scene, there is reference to Jane Mansfield and Jane Russell. Peter Hermann, who plays Peter in the movie, is actually married to Jane Mansfield’s daughter, Mariska Hargity.
If there were 10 reels—this show would get all 10. As it is, I give Philomena five reels as a must-see movie—you won’t be disappointed.