Saturday, August 31, 2013

PHILOMENA - A Fabulous Surprise

Judi Dench & Steve Coogan in PHILOMENA
(Venice, Italy) There are few things more delightful than watching a film with no expectations, and slowly realizing that you are witnessing a cinematic triumph. When a theater full of jaded journalists weep together, laugh together, applaud together; when an entire theater shares a deeply moving human experience, you know you've got a hit.

PHILOMENA is the real name of a real Irishwoman, Philomena Lee (played to perfection by Judi Dench), an unwed mother whose son, Antony, was sold by Catholic nuns to wealthy Americans back in the 1950s, a secret she kept from even her own daughter until what would have been Antony's 50th birthday. It is the story of Philomena's quest to find Antony with the help of real-life journalist, Martin Sixsmith, played by Steve Coogan, who also co-wrote the screenplay.


From Indiewire:

If you were seeking a guaranteed recipe for box-office success, casting Judi Dench as a sweet little old Irish lady trying to track down the son she was forced into giving up for adoption decades earlier sounds like the winning ingredient. Add in Steve Coogan as an acerbic British journalist enlisted in her search, helping to steer the story away from the swamp of sentiment, and the fact that it's based on a true story, and you have Stephen Frears' triumphant, warm-hearted crowd-pleaser "Philomena". The Weinstein Company will undoubtedly feel they have a potential hit on their hands with the emotive, funny "Philomena", and Coogan, Frears and, in particular, Dench all look destined for oodles of awards-season love.

Judi Dench & Steve Coogan
What a bunch of wise old pros. Could the Brits actually be waking up, ready to take the lead? Stephen Frears, the director, Judi Dench, the actress, Steve Coogan, the actor and co-writer, and Jeff Pope, co-writer, were all here in Venice. Judi Dench had met Philomena, who is now 80-years-old, several times and said they shared a similar sense of humor -- which is important because what really makes the movie work is Philomena's amusing observations of life. Wondering what her son might look like now, she says: "What if he's obese? A lot of Americans are."


From The Guardian:

As for Dench, she's purely wonderful. Surely nobody else could have taken Philomena's rambling preçis of a romantic novel and turned it into such a masterpiece of comic timing - a spluttering, absurdist pastoral that's all the more impressive for being delivered at speed while travelling backwards through the airport aboard an electric cart.

Throughout the press conference, Stephen Frears expressed his desire that the Pope see the film. "He seems rather a good bloke, the Pope."

Pope Francis' Twitter Selfie
PHILOMENA. Coming soon to a theater near you.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. There are few things more delightful than watching a film with no expectations, and slowly realizing that you are witnessing a cinematic triumph. When a theater full of jaded journalists weep together, laugh together, applaud together; when an entire theater shares a deeply moving human experience, you know you've got a hit.

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