TIFF 2013: Philomena Review


Special Presentation

Director: Stephen Frears

Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman who became pregnant as a teenager and had her child taken away from her by the Catholic Church and sold for adaption, Philomena, manages a curious balance of tones, both comedic and dramatic.


Co-written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, and starring Coogan, the film follows journalist Martin Sixsmith as he journeys with Philomena (Judi Dench) to discover what has become of her son fifty years later. His character’s a jerk, but over the course of the film, he becomes more and more pulled in by Philomena’s plight until his anger far exceeds hers. But by pairing up these two actors, the film finds a nice helping of comedy to balance out the heartbreaking drama.

Frears hits all the right marks in fluctuating between tones without it ever feeling too harsh or unwelcome.  The film is also quite beautifully shot by DP Robbie Ryan, though the visuals are slightly diminished by the cloying Alexandre Desplat score.

Philomena is the kind of movie you’ll want to take your mom to, and that’s meant in the best possible way. It’s funny and charming, but also socks you with an emotional, heartbreaking with a bit of an edge when it comes to the misdeeds of the Church. (Corey Atad)


Sunday, September 8th, Princess of Wales, 3:30pm


Monday, September 9th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin), 11:00am

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