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  Philomena Review
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Judi Dench , Steve Coogan , Anna Maxwell Martin
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Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope , based on Martin Sixsmithís book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee

Released: 2013
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK
Length: 98

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Itís profoundly moving and thoroughly mind provoking, but despite the poignant subject matter, I promise you will not leave Philomena depressed. Iíve seen it twice and felt exhilarated, informed, enriched, absorbed and optimistic both times.
(Rex Reed, New York Observer)
Frears, in fine form at 72, has proved himself a modest master at juggling the serious and the silly in such actors' showcases as The Queen and Tamara Drewe; and the script by Coogan and Jeff Pope, brims with bright dialogue.
(Mary Corliss, Time)
Stephen Frears returns to top form in a touching, at times funny true story of grave injustice and a mother's search for closure.
(Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter)
Effective, fact-based melodrama that packs an unexpected emotional wallop.
(Marc Mohan, Portland Oregonian)
Dench and Coogan's chemistry is undeniably great. In the end, he manages to give her the answers she seeks and she manages to give him a heart.
(Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly)
Even through improbable moments and abrupt changes of pace and tone, Ms. Dench and Mr. Coogan hold the movie together.
(Stephen Holden, New York Times)
Getting full comic effect from its class-comedy abrasions, Philomena rises to poignancy and profundity as Dench reveals her control of a character stained by the loss of her child and troubled by her suspicion.
(Mary Corliss, Time)
The Catholic Church does not come off well in Philomena, but then, what else is new? And the film isn't so much an indictment of institutional unkindness as it is a story of resilience, resolution - and human kindness.
(Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Philomena is a tearjerker of rare honesty and craft.
(Ty Burr, Boston Globe)
At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty. Evil may be good, story-wise. But virtue, at its most tested and tempered, is even better.
(Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)
Director Steven Frears deserves special mention. A lesser filmmaker could so easily have turned this project into mushy, sentimental junk. The tear-jerking moments here are heartfelt and real. Itís the kind of filmmaking we see too little of today.
(Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times)
It's Dench, showing how faith and hellraising can reside in the same woman, who makes Philomena moving and memorable.
(Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
Most credit goes to Coogan for the success of this odd coupling.
(Roger Moore, Movie Nation)
Philomena is simply one of those small, true stories that astonish in print and inspire good movies.
(Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times)
It's certainly a crowd-pleaser... and something close to a triumph, if not an unqualified one.
(Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist)
Compelling, poignant and gently funny.
(Claudia Puig, USA Today)
Itís an undeniable whopper of a yarn and, coming after a string of middling efforts from Frears, easily the directorís most compulsively watchable picture since ďThe Queen."
(Justin Chang, Variety)
Philomena could have been a sappy movie, but itís not. Instead, with such assured performances, itís proof that sometimes a laugh makes swallowing a big dose of outrage a little easier.
(Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic)
The movie is overcalculating and occasionally coarse, but it has a gentle spirit. We should count its existence as a blessing.
(David Edelstein, New York Magazine)
A trip to America bears its share of exasperated hotel-room humor, but watch both actors lean into characters seeking redemption; their clash is invigorating, with a mature payoff that has two minds meeting and getting further along. Itís a tonic to all the Oscar-season showboating: Call it Best Duo.
(Joshua Rothkop, Time Out New York)
The grande dame's performance, alternately goofy and grave, is an absolute tour de force.
(Inkoo Kang, Village Voice)
A terrific, sophisticated comedy that tackles serious issues with a lightness of touch and a spirit of steel, Philomena is the British film to beat come BAFTA time.
(Damon Wise, Empire)
Odd-couple chemistry from Dench and Coogan, a smart script and honed direction make this real-life story highly compelling. Blending comedy and tragedy, it secretes a potent sting.
(Philip Kemp, Total Film)
It's a terrifically moving film that has a fitting earthbound feel to it.
(Dave Calhoun, Time Out London)
Frears manages to get the tone just right. Even the most jaded of audiences will find it hard not to be moved by Philomena's quest for her missing son.
(Geoffrey Macnab, Independent)
Philomena is a real delight. Funny, moving, beautifully performed and directed with restraint and a wonderfully delicate touch.
(Mark Adams, Screen International)
A return to form for Stephen Frears in this amusing and inquisitive road movie.
(David Jenkins, Little White Lies)
Ultimately, this is a warm-hearted crowd-pleaser.
(Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy)
Frears directs events in his usual unfussy, unpretentious manner - letting the actors explore the scenes to the max.
(James Mottram, The List)
A terrifically moving film that has a fitting earthbound feel to it as well as a barely suppressed anger at crimes inflicted on the powerless
(Dave Calhoun, Time Out)
The film is one of the few capable of allowing its watchers to shed a tear and laugh within more or less the same sequence.
(Derek Malcolm, Evening Standard)
An ongoing, confounding delight of a film.
(Xan Brooks, Guardian)
Frears' film breaks your heart and then repairs it.
(Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph)
What makes Philomena so winning is the sophisticated way in which it condemns the behaviour of the Catholic Church without denigrating people of faith Ė a delicate tightrope act that has given plenty of more high-minded films vertigo.
(Jamie Dunn, The Skinny)

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