Friday, December 6, 2013

Philomena Makes Me Happy For Steve Coogan's Career

In a word, Philomena was... Great!
At heart, this story really gets to me. A young pregnant girl, taken in by a convent, is forced to give her child away and serve the nuns for four years. Fifty years later, she's still searching for her child. But the sisters at the convent continuously block her efforts.

It's a maddening true story, but as the events unfold I feel it carries a weight with it... the idea that we should love our neighbors and not live from a place of anger.
Philomena (Dench) sees the truth in the nuns even if she doesn't know it and in some magnificent way shows Sixsmith (Coogan) that he doesn't have to be like them.
End Spoilers

As the end credits rolled, I got a chance to see just how involved Steve Coogan was in the creation of this interesting, emotional, and awkwardly funny film. He was Producer, Actor, and Writer. It's clear the guy really cares about this story. What impressed me more, he wrote himself a part that legitimately played to his strengths. So often, over the last ten years, I've found myself wondering why Mr. Coogan's roles were so minimized. The guy's got talent, so cast him where his talent lies. He's proven he can carry a film, as he did with Tristram Shandy, The Trip, and this one: Philomena. So let's let him.

Of course, BBC seems more prone than other studios to allow artists to take charge of their art and really make the content they want to make. And I can't compliment them enough for that. If only more studios would follow their model. But sadly that tends to seem a lost cause.

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