Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I love it. I just love it. It's Philomena (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).
Based on a true story, young Philomena, an Irish lass, got pregnant. Her father turned her over to some evil nuns––the kind who enslaved girls and forced them to work in laundries to pay back the nuns for the "care" they received. Adult Philomena (Dame Judi Dench) eventually reveals her long-ago tragic loss to her daughter. Her little boy, Anthony, had been taken away from her, and the nuns sold him to wealthy Americans, as was their practice.
Philomena's daughter meets former journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) and asks him to investigate Philomena and Anthony's story. The results are astonishing. Though we learn what happened to Anthony, the movie focuses on the relationship between Philomena and Martin as they seek the man who was re-named Michael.
Judi Dench's performance is beautiful. Nuanced. Tender. Never too much drama. The entire movie manages to be poignant, yet have amusing moments as Philomena and Martin get to know each other. Martin often becomes annoyed with "typical old lady" Philomena, but Philomena does just fine for herself. She's nobody's fool, though her forgiveness almost defies credibility.
I guessed it before and now I know it to be true: Judi Dench should have won the Best Actress Academy Award. Cate Blanchett, I'm sorry, but I knew you didn't deserve the win. I didn't like Blue Jasmine very much. Judi Dench conveys so much with a look, with a slight tremble of her lip. Dame Judi, how do you do it? I suspect you'd say, Practice makes perfect, darling.
Philomena earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. I have ordered the book on which it is based. I read reviews that say the book is based more on Anthony/Michael's life. No doubt I'll find it interesting.
I felt quite moved when I learned that some of the footage of Michael used in the movie is real home movies of Michael. Philomena also has one photo of him as a child.
Happy Viewing! But you might have a tear in your eye with Philomena.
Infinities of love,