Philomena is based on the story of a ‘shamed mother’ by the name of Philomena Lee who sets out on a journey to find her lost son with the help of a journalist by the name of Martin Sixsmith. So, in Ireland, the shamed mothers were the ones who had a child out of wedlock. The parents of these women used to abandon them with churches where the nuns carried out the delivery of the children with their exiguous medical knowledge, in which most of the mothers and children died during childbirth. Philomena wasn’t one of them. She gave birth to a boy, who was later adopted under the church’s policy that these children are up for adoption if the couple pays 1000 euros.
I expected Philomena to be a thrilling movie of-sorts walking in to it, with the protagonists undertaking a needle-in-a-haystack task and finally succeeding and to my surprise, it wasn’t. It is more about a mother trying to reconnect with her son and his memories and trailing a path to find out whether her existence was of any value to his. Looking at Philomena, it is hard not to notice the religious and faith-based undertones of this movie. I feel it is structured to be a questioning of faith under the most adverse of circumstances.
In a way, it feels like a work of creative difference, for the screenplay writers seem to be telling a different tale and the director another. Philomena wants to succeed as both a dramatic and religious piece, which seems to create a rift of understanding for the viewer as well as a lot of unruly editing. It stretches out for so long that the narrative seems to assume an unwavering pensive mood, so as to let the viewer meditate on his own stability of mind on the concept of faith. And to be honest, I have no interest. I prefer identifying myself as an agnostic because it gives me the peace of mind to indulge my brain cells in more productive work than brooding over questions without definite or rational answers.
However, the only factor that lets us stay in our seats in the midst of all this creative mess, with our eyes plastered on the screen is the brilliant performances of Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Both shine, especially Judy with her adorable act. She moulds a character of her own and her pretty nuances are entertaining to the hilt. Coogan is fabulous as Martin, even overshadowing Dench in an indisputably powerful climax.
Philomena didn’t resonate with me in the way I expected it to, but there is no shame in admitting that it is well because of my personal opinion on religion and faith. It is not an anti- Christian movie as some have asserted, and I am pretty sure it will relate to most of the audiences. Well, unfortunately, just not me.
RATING :- 6.8 / 10
P.S. Although I abstain from my religious beliefs to conflict with my point of thinking when it comes to film criticism, this movie demands that I bring them into the picture, for they hold paramount importance in regards to the narrative of the movie.
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