Showing posts with label stephen frears. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stephen frears. Show all posts

1 November 2013

Philomena Review

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Pathe (UK)
Release Date:
1st November 2013 (UK) 27th November 2013(USA)
Stephen Frears
Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Mare Winningham, Michelle Fairley

Simultaneously heartfelt and amusing, you would be hard pressed to find a film more charming than Philomena this year. This is hardly surprising when you have the wit of a screenplay penned by Steve Coogan and the acting might of Dame Judi Dench involved.

Stephen Frears' film tackles the true story of Philomena Lee (Dench) - an Irish woman who teams up with political advisor turned-journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), to track down her long lost son who was put up for adoption by her convent.

Frears directs Philomena with a warm sense of hopefulness which remains throughout this quietly uplifting film. Coogan and Jeff Pope's screenplay takes us in a number of directions, interacting with a huge spectrum of human emotions - from initial hopefulness to crushing disappointment which builds to a somewhat angry and subsequently uplifting conclusion. Focused performances from Dench and Coogan ensure that every twist and turn of this screenplay finds its way to the audience with Philomena inspiring, amusing, and on more than a few occasions tugging at the heartstrings.

The odd-couple dynamic makes for an amusing and occasionally difficult watch. The sweet (yet surprisingly aware) Philomena's relationship with the cynical Oxford educated Sixsmith is often endearing, and ultimately heart-warming. This is showcased mainly through Sixsmith's slight transformation as a character (who is originally horrified by the prospect of working on a human interested story for the "weak minded and easily manipulated"), yet grows to have a very deep personal involvement in Philomena's case.

Dench is truly sublime as Philomena. Seeing the character's optimism and hope being shaken as she delves into the past has the emotional weight of a ton of bricks. Dench remains charming and downright loveable, whilst showcasing just exactly why she's a national treasure. The actress can convey a tremendous emotion and tragedy in the smallest of glances or gestures, whilst also getting plenty of opportunities to show off an impressive comic streak.

Coogan is given the chance to remind us that he is a solid dramatic actor (just as he did in What Maisie Knew, earlier in the year) delivering a far more understated and emotionally low-key performance to that of Dench.

Philomena is understated yet tremendously powerful, thanks to a touching and effortlessly amusing screenplay from Coogan and Pope. Frears directs with an endearing optimism whilst Dench and Coogan make for a tremendously watchable on-screen double act.


Andrew McArthur

9 August 2013

Watch The UK Trailer For Stephen Frear's Philomena

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Whilst we know all about  Steve Coogan's comedy talents many may not know of his versatility and deliver something serious as well as dramatic, this November we will see that side of Coogan we don't see much off. This afternoon we will get a glimpse of his dramatic chops when we enjoy the UK trailer for Philomena.

Starring  Dame Judi Dench, Philomena  is a tragic true tale set in 1950′s Ireland  of Philomena Lee (Dench) who falls pregnant giving birth to a boy in a Catholic home for unmarried mothers. Years later she is forced to give up her child and has  to become a nun made to sign a declaration not to ever look  for her Son.Years later now living in UK with help from local news reporter Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) to hunt her son down.

Whilst Look Of Love (and What Maisie Knew out this month)gave us a insight to what Coogan to offer, Philomena  is also co-written by Coogan which has even sparked Oscar talk, especially as this film has the emotion levels the Academy love. What mustn't forget  Judi Dench looks like she'll deliver deeply moving and powerful, if your looking for something with humour, Coogan told Variety....

"The film is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy,It's about 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."

Philomena arrives in UK on 1st November 2013.


Judi Dench and Steve Coogan play unlikely friends in PHILOMENA, the moving, funny and at times shocking true story of one woman’s search for a lost son.

Directed by BAFTA winner Stephen Frears (The Queen), PHILOMENA will open in the UK and Ireland on 1 November 2013.

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 but with no success.

Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off to America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between Philomena and Martin.

The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss that ultimately celebrates life, showing that there is laughter even in the darkest places.

Sixsmith’s 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.

first posted at : Thepeoplesmovies