Philomena is like the pre-eminent adult film. No, not that kind of “adult” film you weirdo, but a comfort film that stars 40+ year olds, and is largely about something they solely relate too, mostly dramatic with some comedy sprinkled throughout the proceedings. That doesn’t take anything away from the film as a sole entity, just an observation on its intents and focus. I don’t think I’ve ever put this anywhere online yet, but I’m a huge Steve Coogan fan, and this is almost the perfect piece of work for him. Yes, I enjoy him more solely in straight comedies, but since he shepherded this film largely, it seems clear this is the direction he largely sees himself, and it works. Coogan gets to be in a dramatic film, all the while being a sarcastic semi-asshole who still gets to make all the quips, but also gets to stretch his dramatic muscles. As well as co-writing the film, it’s obvious that Coogan felt a strong afffinity to this subject matter and it shows both on-screen and off.
Judi Dench is Judi Dench, of course, meaning she’s great. She actually reminded me perfectly of my grandma, who is pretty light-hearted and free about most things and never misses an opportunity to talk up complete strangers, whether in line for something or in an elevator, about complete random things or something related to their surroundings. She’s nothing but likable, and does nothing but serve your pleasure in her trying to track down her long, lost son.
I’d say the film is quite average, if not slightly above, which peaks my interest in how the film got a decent amount of Oscar love. It’s a fine film with fine performances, but I don’t know that any of it is necessarily Oscar worthy. Not that it’s going to win any or that Oscars mean anything towards the quality of a film, just that I was surprised this film got recognized so readily.