Philomena

January 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

I had not intended to see this film.  By the previews, it struck me as cloying, manipulative and predictable.  However, with all the Oscar buzz, I changed my mind and decided to check it out.  I’m glad I did.  That isn’t to say the film is not manipulative (it really is a bit) but it wasn’t cloying nor nearly as predictable as I would have thought; funny how true life doesn’t always work out the way a Hollywood story would have.  This was a story with true depth; it took twists I had not seen and I felt those twists more deeply than I had expected.  The film was funny but I had expected that and, in the end, it was not as funny as I had thought.  It was also a bit heart-wrenching and I had not been prepared for that.  By the end of the movie, Steve Coogan’s character (the British journalist Martin Sixsmith) is brimming with rage and I can’t say I blame him.  That particular Irish convent (and it’s Magdalene Laundries) is infamous and watching them in action here was infuriating.  There is a good deal of indignation to be felt in this movie by everyone, it seems, except Philomena herself.  For all of her naiveté and blind faith, she is also a model of compassion and forgiveness.  I left that theater not with the same sense of superiority I felt toward her at first but, rather, wondering if I could ever be like her.

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