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Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:38 PM
The first thing you notice about the film is that Dench is in the film. She's a screen legend and her name gets people interested. Then when you see the film, you realize that as good as she is, this is is Steve Coogan's film. He absolutely owns it. There was a raw power he exhibits every time he's on screen. There are some scenes where he upstages Dench. I've never really been a big Coogan fan, not that I disliked him but he just never really made an impression on me. That has changed.
Philomena is based on true events and it is a heartbreaking story about young Irish mothers who have to raise their kids at a convent. The nuns there horrible people and they end up selling the kids to wealthy Americans for a substantial amount of money. Dench plays the mother 50 years later, looking for her son.
Philomena is well written, beautifully acted and it looks gorgeous. It splits time between Washington and somewhere in Ireland.
I really enjoyed the movie and I'm wondering if Coogan might be up for best adapted screenplay.
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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:11 PM
They were both great in this film, Coogan embracing the role as a cynical journalist and Dench playing herself down as a dowdy, unassuming old woman. The film is a handsome production that did its job calling attention to the evil ways of the Catholic church's dealings with children born out of wedlock, but beyond that there's not a whole lot that makes it memorable. Coogan's personal arc is kind of dropped near the end in favor of the larger narrative, so the story ultimately feels somewhat unfocused and lacking emotional heft, which for such a tragic story it really should've had more of.
Edited by tribefan695, 04 December 2013 - 04:14 PM.
Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:22 PM
I dunno, I felt something was missing. I probably would've liked it better if they put one more conversation with his editor in there with a tone that wasn't as concerned with exploiting the story for more eyeballs.
Edited by tribefan695, 04 December 2013 - 04:25 PM.
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Posted 07 December 2013 - 04:04 PM
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are both great in their roles. Judi Dench steals the show as one of the year's most endearing characters, even sporting a fair share of humorous moments (the move did have some pretty funny scenes) and Coogan acts as a capable foil. Her story is fascinating, and you root for her to find out the truth. However, the movie is set back by a few things. Moments of richer development often felt sacrificed for more emotional moments, and while none were too blatant, I just felt like there was more than necessary, and they didn't quite have the strength they could have. Quality over quantity, after all. As a result, the actions in the second act seem kind of rushed, and the main characters just jump from place to place without much breathing room.
It's a solid film that never quite lives up to what it could have been.
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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:50 PM
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Posted 25 December 2013 - 06:13 PM
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Posted 26 December 2013 - 02:32 AM
"human interest stories are a euphemism for stories about weak-minded, ignorant people". well, this obviously made him look like a douche. however, if your story about human toil and triumph is interesting or unique, people probably won't denigrate it as human interest. and the man is right: the acts here are unforgivable, as is the sap shit about holding hands in the face of evil. but this inoffensive oscar fluff does manage to emote once or twice through its layers of schmaltz.
Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:58 PM
I knew nothing of this movie before seeing it and I was pleasant surprise by it. Wonderful performance by Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and a touching screenplay. The movie is well directed and has some unexpected twist. I highly enjoyed this movie and I think this movie offers something for everyone.
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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:14 PM
Just got back form a special screening and I really really enjoyed it, great balance of comedy that never feels forced in a such a heartbreaking story.
I liked how half way in we find out he died and that the picture was still able to move on and keep you equally entertained.
Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:22 AM
But unfair to call this 'fluff' - it's a small character piece and never pretends to be otherwise. It was actually heavier than the marketing led you to believe.
Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:53 PM
Man, fuck those nuns.
Sharply written, surprisingly well shot, and an enjoyable character piece. B+
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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:54 AM
Philomena is a movie that felt like I should have found it generic, but somehow, thanks to two great performances, a magnificent score and solid directing, turned into quite the movie. Philomena is about an interview that turns into a road trip and is based off the true story of Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan), a journalist who has been dismissed by the Labour Party and is disgraced because of it. Looking for a good story to write about, he runs into Philomena Lee (played by Judi Dench – a terrific performance), an elderly lady from Ireland, who, when she was young, had gotten pregnant at a Catholic convent. Philomena is looking for her long lost son, Anthony, who was taken away from her when he was three years old. Thinking that this will make for a good story, Martin decides to help her find her son and the two set out on a road trip that eventually takes them to America.
As mentioned already, as expected, Judi Dench is terrific in Philomena. She is nice, humorous, and somehow innocent. As Philomena, she plays a no nonsense lady, who clearly wants to have a good time, and is also on a quest to find her long lost son. When she is funny, she is funny. When she is dramatic, she is dramatic. Her performance is one of the best performances I’ve seen from 2013, and definitely worthy of her Oscar nomination.
Steve Coogan seems to be going for the opposite performance. While Judi Dench is more lively and upbeat for the majority of the film, Coogan, as Martin Sixsmith, is more downbeat and miserable, with his voice being very low. The two have great chemistry together, sounding almost like a man and his mother bickering with one another. Coogan delivers some of the best lines in the film (having written the script as well), and plays a slime bag journalist who clearly isn’t a huge fan of his job, but during the course of the film, has a change of heart due to his journey with Philomena.
The direction and editing in Philomena is top notch. Stephen Frears, an accomplished British director, brings his A-Game to this film, which is shot perfectly, and looks crisp and clear. The interesting thing about the editing is how it incorporates the plot. During the course of the film, Philomena has “visions” that are shot like home videos of what appears to be her son. We later discover these are actually home videos of her son as a child and as an adult. The script by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope is based off the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by the real Martin Sixsmith and is clever and witty, including a funny bit of dialogue by Philomena that pokes fun at the high obesity rate of Americans.
The musical score, by famed French composer Alexandre Desplat, is magnificent, and maybe even the film’s strongest point. It can be at times, uplifting, comical, dramatic and even mysterious. It gave me different feelings throughout the film, as it’s just that darn magnificent.
Philomena is not a particularly fast movie, but it does not need to be. It works well in its own environment. It can be both funny and dramatic at the same time. It’s a very good and well done movie that is worth a look.
Edited by Fancyarcher, 18 February 2014 - 10:55 AM.
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Posted 19 February 2014 - 04:47 PM
Fuck the nuns.
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