Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Week's DVDs

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Week's DVDs

Article excerpt

PHILOMENA (12) JANE Lee (Anna Maxwell Martin) discovers her mother Philomena (Judi Dench) fell pregnant as a teenager in 1952 Ireland and was forced to give up the baby to the sisters at Roscrea Abbey.

Jane pitches the story to former Labour advisor turned BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan). After a reality check from his wife Kate (Simone Lahbib), Martin agrees to help Philomena track down her boy. Using his connections, Martin takes Philomena to Washington DC to sift through official documents, hoping to reunite the old woman with the son she never wanted to give up. Throughout, Philomena clings to her faith, lighting a candle for her child.

Directed with a light touch by Stephen Frears, Philomena celebrates the power of hope to heal old wounds.

Dench is magnificent and Coogan jettisons most of his Alan Partridge tics in support, gradually warming to Philomena and her upbeat outlook on life.

The tender and unexpectedly touching relationship provides Frears's uplifting film with its irresistible emotional thrust. …

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