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.
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What are critics saying?
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.
It's a terrifically moving film that has a fitting earthbound feel to it.
The grande dame's performance, alternately goofy and grave, is an absolute tour de force.
A human-interest story that claims spite for human-interest stories, the film has some pretty divisive issues at its core that leave it torn between contrasting approaches.
It’s an undeniable whopper of a yarn and, coming after a string of middling efforts from Frears, easily the director’s most compulsively watchable picture since “The Queen."
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.
It's certainly a crowd-pleaser...and something close to a triumph, if not an unqualified one.
This is a heartbreaking story – how could it not be? But Frears’ film breaks your heart and then repairs it.
Its main focus is the sparky, shifting relationship between its two protagonists and its trump card the startling chemistry between its two main stars.