PHILOMENA // Human emotion is a complicated yet beautiful thing. Captured like lightning bugs in a bottle, the Academy Award nominated “Philomena” displays these complicated emotions in full force. Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, whose baby boy was taken from her by the nuns in the convent that took her in and adopted him away without her permission, Dame Judi Dench (as Philomena) does not miss a beat. Exploring a person’s ability to forgive as we follow the breadcrumbs to find her son nearly fifty years after losing him, Philomena’s breaking heart over the situation along with her always hopeful demeanor is the driving force for the film. Steve Coogan plays Martin Sixsmith, the journalist that agrees to help find Philomena’s long lost son. Faced with the aging Philomena, the generational gap between the two provides for most of the comic relief throughout the film, yet it is always the stronger emotions, like Martin’s guilt for chasing his own professional goals over actually looking out for Philomena, or the understanding nature of Philomena when faced with less than hopeful news. “Philomena” is not a drama for everyone and does feel designated for an older age group, but the one universal truth that does land for everyone is raw human emotion, a quality of most films that almost anyone can relate to.

[Directed by Stephen Frears] [PG-13] [98 mins] [27 November 2013]    07threehalf-stars

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