Don’t miss Dame Judy

Going to the movies is a great way to keep out of the sun and stay cool and if you’re looking for a movie recommendation, Debbie is only to happy to offer her review of Philomena.

As with most considered moviegoers, anything with Dame Judy Dench in is a must-see, but as I’m not such a huge fan of Steve Coogan (can’t see past him as Alan Partridge), I hadn’t rushed to see Philomena which stars both these British actors.

Based on a true story, the movie follows the plight of Philomena Lee, who had her child out of wedlock in a convent in 1950s Ireland. Without her permission, the sisters and the Catholic Church allowed her son to be adopted and taken to America. On his 50th birthday, Philomena finally tells her daughter of the child she had taken from her.

This is where political journalist Martin Sixsmith comes in. Dismissed from the Labor Party staff in disgrace, a chance meeting with Philomena’s daughter at a party leads him to pitch the story and accompany Philomena on her difficult journey to find her son.

Initial impressions that Philomena is a doddery old Irish woman are quickly dismissed. Her 30 years spent as a nurse and sharp mind make her equal to Oxford-educated Sixsmith and his jaded views.

Judy Dench is, as always, remarkable in this role. Not once does she make you pity Philomena, despite her harrowing experience, instead you are mesmerised by her determination to find out if her son ever thought of his beginnings in Ireland. Steve Coogan also surprised me and proved that he can handle the more dramatic roles.

I don’t want to give too much away about the story, but the sheer evilness of the sisters who deprived many women in the 50s of the right to have a say in the future of their children is maddening. However, this serves only as a backdrop to the quest for the truth.

Don’t miss the chance to see Judy Dench at her best.

Written by Debbie McTaggart