Philomena – 7.5/10

A woman who had her child taken from her by the Catholic church and a fading journalist team up to tell her story.


The success of Philomena is down to Steve Coogan as smart alec journalist Martin Sixsmith and especially Judi Dench as the title character. Coogan has finally broken free of Partridge to become a serious dramatic actor. It will be interesting to see whether Philomena is a one off or the start of a new chapter for Coogan.

We all know of Dame Judi’s reputation as a national institution but it is a testament to her unique talent that she can still surprise with a performance like this at the age of 79. She simply IS Philomena. To bring such humour and personality whilst still packing such an emotional wallop is no mean feat and Dame Judi wholly deserves her Oscar nod for best leading actress.

Director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) has told a simple story, free from gimmicks and mostly resisting unnecessary sentiment, and told it very well.

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