"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
I liked this movie despite the absence of mind swirling action. There are no car chases and zero explosions. The ending will not send a jolt of excitement through your veins. In fact this movie is quintessentially the complete opposite of the last movie that was reviewed. What this film lacks in sexiness it makes up in depth of character and plot. It is like having a warm cup of coffee in a rocking chair on the porch of your mountain cabin. There is a sharp chill in the air that is beginning to weave its way through the blanket wrapped around your shoulders. Quietly rocking, you look out over the tranquil landscape, and realize the allure of being trapped in this paradox. Beauty comes in different shapes and sizes and there are many wonderfully graceful moments to this picture.
On the surface the it seems to be a stuffy little story about a young girl who had a little too much fun at a local carnival in Limerick, Ireland. She goes on the give birth to a baby boy, Anthony, while entrenched in the town's abbey. Her future looks bleak as the nasty nuns who run the convent also just happen to have a small side business selling the children of the poor girls who live there to foreigners. They appallingly get the girls to give up their maternal rights, brainwashing them into believing that it is proper atonement for their carnal explorations. Oh the glory of God. Fast forward to modern times and our thrill seeking protagonist, played marvelously by the iconic Judi Dench, has decided that after 50 years of silence she must know what became of her beloved Anthony. She sets out on a quest with a former controversial news journalist that will ultimately lead her to the capital of the United States and the office of Ronald Reagan.
This film is quite simple and in that simplicity I found it to be rather enjoyable. With all the bulky budgeted films out there and the anxious directors concocting the next big twist, seeing a movie that essentially plays out from a-z was refreshing. There are a few turns in the story and a couple of bumps in the road, but the real triumph of this film is the acting; specifically the interaction between Sixsmith the journalist and Philomena. Look for Mrs. Dench to garner several best actress award nominations in the coming months as her performance was brilliant.