It’s little wonder the 2013 film Philomena was nominated for so many industry awards, not to mention winning a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, and the subsequent book by Martin Sixsmith, the story follows the older protagonist on her quest to find her son who she was forced to give up for adoption in the 1950’s as a young girl living at a Catholic convent.
Award winning veteran actress Dame Judi Dench doesn’t disappoint playing the determined, strong, yet somewhat naïve character of Philomena. Steve Coogan, who also co-wrote the screenplay, plays the moody but likeable character of Martin Sixsmith, a former BBC correspondent who has lost his way in life and the recent political world he entered into working for the Labour Party. Sixsmith agrees to cover Philomena’s story and accompanies her on the long journey that sees her travelling to the US in search of her long lost son.
Although light-hearted in places and easy to watch, the film casts convents and the humiliating treatment bestowed by nuns in that era in a negative light, and serves to further cement the controversy that has surrounded the Catholic Church in recent months.
Nevertheless, the story is a moving one that encompasses love, heartbreak, and quite a bit of comedy from both Dench and Coogan, and allows the viewer to watch as they form an unlikely friendship as he helps her trace her son’s whereabouts.