Philomena is a delightful surprise amongst this year’s nominees for Best Picture.
Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, director Stephen Frears has created a heartwarming film about shame, love, and, most importantly, forgiveness.
Philomena (Judi Dench), has kept her son, Anthony, a secret for 50 years. Born out-of-wedlock, he was taken from her against her will by the Catholic nuns who took her in when her family disowned her. It’s a burden she finally shares with her daughter on her lost son’s 50th birthday.
Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a recently disgraced, and unemployed journalist is approached by Philomena’s daughter at a party. After some persuasion, Sixsmith agrees to write a human interest story about Philomena’s experience, and the two set off to find her long-lost son.
Their journey leads them to Washington D.C., and ultimately, back to where the story all began – Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea in Ireland — the abbey where her son was taken from her.
It’s a sweet and heartbreaking story. This woman, who has every right to be angry at the world, and more specifically, at the faith which she’s been devoted to her entire life, chooses to forgive.
This film could have very easily been turned into another bashing of the Catholic Church. After all, it’s very hard to defend the act of shaming teenage girls into giving up their children. When you add in the fact that these girls were essentially enslaved for four years, while their children were sold to the wealthy for £1000 each, well, it’s nearly unforgivable. These facts are not hidden from us, the viewers; however, we are left to make our own judgments.
Told simply and beautifully, Philomena inspires and shows the true power of forgiveness.
…just for fun: