Friday, December 6, 2013

Philomena: Monday, December 2 2013

Philomena is a 2013 British film directed by Stephen Frears. Judi Dench as Philomena Lee, and Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith are fabulous in their parts, of course. This is an entertaining film, in that it is a pleasure to watch Judi Dench.

Based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, the film tells the true story of Philomena Lee's 50 year long search for her son.

Philomena was an eighteen-year-old in the nineteen fifties. She had sex, became pregnant, was sent by her father who disowned her, to a convent to have the baby. The baby Michael, was bought from the convent by rich Americans, who adopted him and took him to America. Philomena has been looking for him ever since.

What an indictment of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Ireland!  How could so many people be so brainwashed into believing these dreadful ideas. Sex was "dirty" and "forbidden", and to be used only for procreation. To enjoy sex was a sin. Of course, it wasn't only the Roman Catholic Church espoused this view of sex. It was said that Queen Victoria, Head of the Church of England, when giving advice to her daughter on the eve of her marriage, exhorted her to, "close your eyes and think of England!". What human suffering these ideas have caused!

My friend, Carolyn, enjoyed the film. Maureen, commented that no one who hadn't lived in those times could really possibly know what it was like. Rosemary and I agreed with her. This triggered a conversation about the nuns both Maureen and Rosemary had known in their youth. Their impression was that the nuns were embittered women, like the nun in Philomena. I had been under the misapprehension that nuns were sweet women, showering love on their students and patients. I gather I had it wrong.

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