|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Genre:||Drama, Comedy, Tragicomedy|
|Production country:||Großbritannien 2013|
|Running time:||Approx. 98 min.|
When young Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) becomes pregnant in strict 1950s Catholic Ireland, it is an unforgivable sin for her family. The girl is sent to a convent where she gives birth to her son, only to give him up for adoption some time later. Her faith and her shame keep Philomena silent about this experience for many years. It is not until she is almost 70 years old that Philomena (Judi Dench) wants to break that very silence and set out to find her son. Disgraced reporter Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is tasked with helping her search and telling her story to the world. At first, Martin is less than enthusiastic about working on such a doom-and-gloom story. But the more time he spends with Philomena and the more he learns of her life story, the more his protective shield of arrogance and cynicism cracks. The search leads the unlikely twosome all the way to America, where Martin uncovers an outrageous scandal.
Philomena is based on the novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith. This has been turned into a wonderful screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, which director Stephen Frears (The Queen) has made moving and funny in equal measure. With two great leads and plenty of dry humour, Frears manages perfectly to ensure that the story, which is rather sad in itself, never degenerates into an overly sentimental schmaltzette. Rather, he succeeds in making the characters grow so close to the viewer's heart that they don't need to be manipulated by the music or overblown emotions to be really touched by Philomena's story.
Judi Dench plays the pious older lady with an incredible amount of charm and a lovable twinkle in her eye, which quickly enchants the viewer. You just have to like her Philomena, which also makes it believable why a disillusioned cynic like Martin suddenly lets himself be softened by her. Steve Coogan, who is primarily known as a comedian, gives the journalist, who was once so spoiled by success, with a delightful arrogance that doesn't really make him likeable, especially at the beginning, but that doesn't completely hide his good sides. It quickly becomes clear that Martin has built up a protective wall of cynicism and arrogance around himself precisely because of his professional setback, which Philomena is gradually able to tear down. Watching how a kind of respectful friendship develops between the two very dissimilar people is a lot of fun and at the same time great emotional cinema.
Because when the fate of the young Philomena is shown in flashbacks, there are quite a few goosebump moments, where viewers who are a little closer to the water may well shed a few tears. What she and Martin find out about their son and other children in America is sad and also makes you a little angry. Still, the film never loses its refreshing lightness and positive mood throughout. Frears proves with the help of his actors and his Oscar-nominated screenplay that even serious topics can be told in an extremely entertaining way and that they don't necessarily have to degenerate into heavy consternation cinema. Many German filmmakers could take an example from this.
Philomena manages the difficult balancing act between comedy and drama, offers great acting and heartfelt entertainment and leaves the audience with a tear in their eye and a big smile on their face. It's a simply beautiful film that lovers of slightly more sophisticated British entertainment cinema should definitely not miss. Definitely worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp