“Pilomena” 1 hr38 mins Director: Stephen Frears, Story by Martin Sixsmith Co-Screenplay: Martin Sixsmith Cast: Judi Densch, Steven Coogan
When a disgraced BBC correspondent is overhead saying he was looking for a story, he is contacted by Philomena’s daughter. Her mother, it seems, had a baby out of wedlock some fifty years earlier. Philomena had been brought to a convent in Tipperary in Roscrea County to have her baby. In exchange for four years of servitude working seven days a week (along with other girls in the same situation) she was allowed to see her baby boy one hour a day. Philomena’s younger self is played by pretty and talented Sophie Kennedy Clark. One day, without her permission or any notice, the nuns give the baby to a young couple from the United States. Devastated, she goes on to create her life, never really forgetting about her baby boy.
WOW! We have a lot right there, don’t we? This is based on a true story but I felt it limited the glimpses of these young girl’s dismal lives. This convent basically bordered girls who they enslaved for years. The girls, denied proper medical pre-natal care often died in child birth. Sometimes, their babies did, as well. Is anyone angry about this?
When a disgraced BBC correspondent reluctantly agrees to help her find her long lost son, the two embark on a journey that ultimately brings them to Washington, DC. No spoiler here. The story unfolds in a way that showcases Densch but leaves raw emotion out of the picture. We all admire the talents of Judi Densch. Still, there are other actresses out there who might have portrayed the pain, the agony, of twice loosing one’s child forever.
Even more important was that the tragedy and crimes of the dear sisters in Tipperary are never really examined, resolved or punished. I wanted more contrition. Hell, I wanted some contrition! Does a women who was raised in the strict confines of her Catholic Church in Ireland really have the capacity to forgive so easily? I had a difficult time with this movie and its sub-plots as the depth of those issues often went unhandled.