Sunday, December 1, 2013

Philomena, the movie

I was very surprised at the popularity of the film, Philomena, when I went yesterday  for a 2:15 matinee.  I stood in line in the very chilly shade while the large audience at the 12:15 showing left the theatre (I was at our wonderful, old fashioned art film house, Cape Cod Cinema in Dennis).  It was Saturday afternoon and I suppose many people were avoiding the shopping madness and the impossible parking at the mall. From the mumblings around me, everyone was as surprised as I at being in such a crowd.

The movie with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, about a search for the child Philomena had as a teenaged orphan living in a Catholic orphanage, is an unlikely sort of buddy picture with Coogan as an out of work reporter who gets caught up in writing a human interest book instead of something about Russia (his area of expertise). Philomena is about 65, Dench is 78 (but a lovely and lively 78). The movie seemed heavy-handed and slow most of the way through until we got to several surprises in the last third of it.  I won't share any spoilers. I was less enthusiastic than I think most viewers will be; I thought the screen writing was work-a-day and uninspired. It seems the true story on which the film is based was too heavy for the writers to make either Philomena or the reporter people of depth. Plus I felt a certain amount of agism in the portrayal of Philomena.

3 comments:

Lynn Guardino said...

We intended to see the 4:30 show on Friday but when we arrived, the line was out the door and down the side. It was cold outside and it appeared that the wait to get in and maybe get a seat would be uncertain so we left and decided to return another time. Now, I'm not so sure....I am not convinced that you liked the film, correct?

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- national media had given the film high marks but that does not always mean that it is going to be a good film. I like your reviews and take heed to what you say about a book or film. Maybe I will wait until it is available on netflix when I can watch it in the comfort of my home watching it online. If I don't like it - click - I can go on to another film. thanks June -- barbara

June Calender said...

Thank you both for your comments. Yes, I stood in such a line, Lynn. Obviously various commentators bring their own points of view to their published comments. Perhaps is shouls have emphasized that the last third of the film has many interesting surprises. I found the first two-thirds slow and repetitious.