I watched the movie, “Philomena,” at home with all the lights turned out. I
usually like to watch movies with someone. I had reserved this at the library,
for my good friend, Jenny, and I to watch. Her aunt died, unfortunately, and
they were going to be away. Although I mention her death, it is something
that Jenny and her family have chosen to view as ‘for the best,’ due to her
declining health and age. Just so you know.
I was by myself absorbing a piece of history, a time where there were some
“edges” to the kindness, found in religion. Judgment went hand in hand with
the predicament that Philomena got into. There was a sad part of this movie,
which will not ‘ruin’ it for you, that must be talked about.
Since no one was there, to discuss and ponder with, after the movie ended.
You will be my person I go to, who may contemplate what bothered me about
the movie. I wonder why some people who take on positions, like a particular
nun in Philomena’s life, have to be so cruel?
The man, Martin Sixsmith, who was a journalist and someone who liked to
write about ‘straight news,’ was assigned a ‘fluff piece,’ or so he thought. He
ended up becoming involved with a woman’s life, which ultimately changed
Martin Sixsmith wrote a book that was published in 2009 called, “The Lost
Child of Philomena Lee.” I will recommend this, before even reading it.
When life slows down in my ‘day job’ at the warehouse, (busy summers, less
so, in the winters) I will be getting this book out of the library to read.
My grandchildren will soon be back to school, so less busy times ahead in the
evenings for me. I will enjoy reading this fine story, despite my knowing its
ending. The details that are given within books, images and evocative incidents
resonate so much more when the words weave their tale.
The story of how Philomena gets pregnant is brief. It is a fleeting, emotional
choice; yet it shows her affection and interest in the young man. There are many
times in her life, she may have regretted this moment. Overall, it did not dampen
her outward spirits. Philomena is such a positive source of light and laughter.
She reminded me of the zany character of my Great Aunt Marie. Philomena has
She tells most of her stories to Martin with levity, without too many complaints.
She does hide her shame and her inward remorse, for what she did. She admits
to saying the rosary and going to confession many, many times, over the years.
It is when her son would have turned 50, that she mentions it finally to her own
daughter, she raised in wedlock. Her daughter is catering an event for Martin’s
fiftieth birthday, that is how the story begin. . .
She was a teenager, taken to stay at a home for expectant mothers. The nun’s
emphasis of their being “unwed mothers” is stressed in a negative fashion.
Parents trying to connect with their child they put up for adoption, adults who
were put up for adoption and anyone who enjoys a good, heart-wrenching story,
will all enjoy this movie. I am sure you will find meaning in the book, too. After
all, it inspired a wonderful and well-received movie.
Thousands of Irish-Catholic adopted children, raised to adulthood, are still
trying to find their ‘roots.’ They are wanting to find their heritage and their
families. The reasons for the secretive records are disclosed in the book and
The ‘nunnery’ she was sent to live until her child was born, was named, Sacred
Heart. It held a serious (sanctimonious) attitude towards ‘sin.’
The expectant mothers were supposed to work, for their ‘room and board.’ They
had to do this 5-6 days a week. Philomena’s job was laundry, by hand, with lye
soap. Scrubbing their skin off their young hands, under rough and hot conditions.
One self-righteous nun, Philomena remembers, was cruel in her expectations
of these young women who were away from their families and homes. Sadly, the
head nun’s attitude was expressed, “Atonement is required for your sins.”
Not that these girls, didn’t go to Confession as often as possible!
The babies were only allowed to be seen once a day by their mothers, if their work
At one point, I was bawling, tears streaming and sobs ensuing. There was a place
on one of the simple cots they slept on, if Philomena stood on it, it brought back
the memory of her son being taken away in a car. His face is pressed to the window.
You know this, from the very beginning:
Philomena didn’t want to give up her baby boy.
The story from beginning to end, includes a lot of fun and silly parts. Martin’s
teasing Philomena and Philomena’s assessments of life, people and situations
all are so special, warm and happy. You will carry the part that Judi Dench
portrayed, this amazing woman, who did become a nurse and did try to lead a
righteous life, in your head for days. It has taken me since Friday, to put into
words, the way I came to love Philomena.
Judi Dench did not win an Academy Award, nor was Steven Coogan nominated,
but this movie is stellar.
Judi Dench did an outstanding job in her 2013 portrayal of this indomitable lady.
“Philomena” will steal a piece of your heart.