Well, I’m not delighted. I’m not disappointed. I’m not teary (not too teary). I’m not charmed. What I am is incensed. This movie pulls what I refer to as a 'trailer dupe.' That’s where the trailer leads you to believe a movie is one thing—in this case a heartwarming comic adventure to reunite a mother with her long-lost son--but the film is something else entirely.
Philomena (Judi Dench) is a quiet, deeply religious Irish woman, who became pregnant as an unwed young girl. She was sent off to a convent, where the child was born and then unceremoniously given up for adoption. Now, as the grown boy’s 50th birthday nears, Philomena wants nothing more than to find her son and know what his life was like. She joins forces with a disgraced journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), and together, they set about tracking down Philomena’s son.
Suffice it to say—without giving too much away—the movie is much more a heart-wrenching tale of disillusion and human trafficking than it is a merry jaunt to bring together mother and son. The humor is forced and awkward, and the film struggles with the message it is trying to send. The trailer is deceptive not because the film is bad—that would be understandable—but rather because the filmmakers want to sell tickets. In the end, I certainly wished I hadn’t bought one. It’s a 5.