Judi Dunch is exhilirating to watch as Philomena. And Steve Coogan has taken on more of a serious role, defining him as an all round actor, as he plays the journalist helping Philomena, Martin Sixsmtih. The film is rather simple in its approach, however, it has been beautifully executed, providing a visual good story that has a number of funny, lighthearted and emotional moments.
Philomena, is based on the real life story of an Irish lady, who is on the search for her son, who was stolen from her in the 1950's by nuns. She was forced to work in an Irish Magdalene laundery, following her becoming pregnant out of wedlock and her own father abandoning her. But one of things that we learn from the film is that within these nuneries, nuns disgracefully sold children for money to childless American couples.
Dench provides a warm and heart-felt portrayal of Philomena, delievering the fears and hopes of an old woman who has kept this secret for 50 years and through the help of the journalist, Martin Sixsmith she is able to put the pieces of her story together.
Coogan who produced and co-wrote the film plays the former BBC correspondent, Martin Sixsmith in the film, who was also a New Labour advisor, until he was forced to resign following the leakage of an email he sent to the press. The film follows Sixsmith's reluctance of becoming a freelance journalist and how he ended up writing a human interest story on Philomena.
Throughout the film we learn about the journey both Philomena and Martin Sixsmith take together as they go on the search for her son including them getting a lead, which takes them both to America. The story weaves in and out of Philomena's life now as an older woman searching for her child and her younger self, played by Sophie Kennedy Clark, allowing the audience to fully envisage the hardship that Philomena endured when her child was taken from her.
Throughout the film more issues come alight. But it is nice to see how the character's develop, especially Martin Sixsmith's, who learns to accept different outlooks on life, after stating his own strong beliefs at the beginning of the film. Moreover, what really makes the film so beautiful to watch is the unusual and beautiful relationship between Dench and Coogan.