Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Philomena

The overall feeling you get when watching Stephen Frears' drama Philomena is one of restraint. Restraint in the storytelling. Restraint in the performances, and restraint in the emotions of the piece, which, could,  given the subject matter of the forced adoption of illegitimate babies in 1950s Ireland, be an emotional rollercoaster ride.
This gentle approach serves the movie well, for it is a powerful and at times affectionately amusing look at two very different individuals sharing an extraordinary experience.
Much has been made of the Steve Coogan and Judy Dench partnership in Philomena and there is no denying their talent portraying world weary hack Martin Sixsmith and unworldly Irish Grandmother Philomena Lee.
But ,  for me, ( and I  know  I am in a minority here) I thought Dench was miscast .
Despite this fact.
The movie is well worth seeing.
7/10


27 comments:

  1. Funny you should mention this! I JUST started reading the book. Want to see the movie next.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of these days I'll see the movie; when in Rep of Ireland and N. Ireland earlier this month, friends told me the story.John, how true to the story is the movie, do you know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No idea.....but I would like to read the book to see

      Delete
  3. Why do you think she was miscast?Do you mean they should have had someone less 'Dame-ish'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's me.......I just didn't quite believe her character
      I

      Delete
  4. i really want to see this movie!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like my kind of movie. I'll put it in my Netflix "saved" section. Willy Dunne Wooters and I don't go out to movies. I would consider going occasionally, but not Willy.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is possible that Dame Judi can be miscast?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have been watching the ads on this movie and I put it on my "to see" list. It was good to see your review.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have been waiting to see this movie along with "Saving Mr. Banks.
    I will probably Netflix it though or wait for the Three Dollar Theater.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have you seen Miss Dench in 'Notes on a Scandal"?
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A stunning, amazing performance - revealing exactly why she is a GREAT actress.

      Delete
    2. Isn't it just!
      Jane x

      Delete
  10. I'd like to see the film. I thought Dame Judi was miscast in "Ladies in Lavender." Not that she and Dame Maggie didn't do a great job, they did, but i think they were a bit too old for the parts to be entirely convincing. Had they been 10 years younger or made to look 10 years younger, i'd have found it more believable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Megan, your comment does (seriously) puzzle me. What's age got to do with feelings (of whatever kind)? I'd really appreciate an answer if you have minute or two.

      U

      Delete
    2. In the story line, the ladies were to be middle aged, certainly no older than 50, but i felt they looked older than that, like two ladies in their mid 60s so it made some of the lines they said not sound believable.

      The whole feeling of a quiet, older woman really falling for a young man was believable and wonderfully acted, it was the premise that we were to believe the two women to be a good deal younger than they appeared to be that was troublesome for me.

      Delete
  11. Lady Magnon went to see the film in London last week. I asked her if she'd enjoyed it; she replied that it wasn't the sort of film you either enjoy, or don't enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm three quarters of the way through the book which is just riveting and at times quite harrowing. Worried I might find the film a disappointment

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm waiting for this to come to our community centre film night.
    I think other dramas about the laundries have been more powerful & depict the true horror of what went on. I suspect this was more about the relationship built between the two characters.

    Thought Judy Dench was marvelous in chocolat x

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've now seen your comment under my own review of this film, J.G., and responded to it there. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I saw this film the other week with my Mum and thought it was absolutely brilliant. After hearing a really good interview with Martin Sixsmith about it, it makes sense that it is slightly different from the book.

    BUT, it is true to what Philomena told him just altered slightly to make quicker watching. Also in the interview it came to light that nun they finally got to speak to at the end of the film (I've forgotten her name) went to her grave AFTER spilling all the secrets she had held onto for years, at least that meant answers for lots of people that had been searching for them for years.

    I though Dame Judy was lovely in the role, she reminded me of my Mum in Law all the way through!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes! We saw it and thought it was excellent...even Judy Dench. I don't normally like Steve Coogan, so was very pleasantly surprised. It's a terribly sad story, but the film tells it well with just the right amount of emotion..

    ReplyDelete
  17. I haven't seen 'Philomena' yet, though do know the story.

    As to Judy Dench - just like Megan - on reading your review I thought of her in the role of "Ladies in Lavender", a film I loved. Dench pulled off the slightly dizzy Ursula brilliantly - once you forgot that it was Dench playing her. But that's the trouble with the grand dames of film and theatre, applies to Smith too: They become regal, are formidable. Almost bigger than the roles they are playing. Probably the best compliment one can pay an actor.

    You are right, John, casting can make or break a film (for the individual viewer). If you asked me which role I'd love to have on a film set: Casting director. Wouldn't be indecisive because instinct leads where reason is left behind. Yet, one wonders when you think back over film history and consider how that actor and only that actor has become synonymous with a role yet it was offered to others first (to be declined).

    Big question is: Who will play you and me? And Chris? And Megan (the rabbit that is).

    U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen Mirren will play you..of that I have no doubt

      Delete
  18. I've been waiting for this film to debut this week, and hope I can toddle off to watch it later today.
    It reminds me of my own life's choices.
    Thanks for the review John.
    ~Jo

    ReplyDelete
  19. Saw the film last night. Saw Saving Mr Banks on monday and saw odd similarities between the two female lead characters. ( aside from both begin played by such big actors ) Both seemed lost in, and guilty of, a past they had no control of.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just saw the movie today and thought it was wonderfully done. The subject is very troubling: a neighbor gave me a video last week about the Magdelene sisters in Ireland and I have been putting off watching it because I get so incensed. But this movie was gentle and sad and powerful. I'm now planning to read the book.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x