A Movie ‘Philomena” 9/14/14

September 14, 2014

A movie “Philomena” is based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by journalist Martin Sixsmith, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It tells the true story of Philomena (Dench), 50-year-long search for her forcefully adopted son, and Sixsmith’s (Coogan) effort to help her find him. The movie follows the sad story/history of adoptions. Philomena became pregnant with a man she met at the fair, and was sent to Sean Ross Abbey in Ireland. After giving birth (without much of medical treatment and facility), she was forced to work in the convent laundry, seven days a week, for four years to pay off the cost of her stay. There were many young ladies at the Abbey. One day she discovered that the nuns had given her son to an American couple for adoption, without warning or a chance for Philomena to say goodbye. That was customary at this abbey. Philomena kept her lost son a secret from her family for fifty years, but she visited the convent periodically to try to find him. The nuns repeatedly told her that they were unable to help her which was a total lie. Martin and Philomena begin their search at the convent.  They present her with a contract she was forced to sign, forbidding her from contacting her son again, which Martin considers to be too convenient for the Abbey. Later at the nearby pub, the locals tell Martin that the convent deliberately destroyed the records in a bonfire, and that most of the children were sold for £1,000 each to rich Americans. This Abby’s secret is one of the high points of this movie. Eventually Sixsmith and Philomena found her adopted son, Anthony then named Michael by his adopted parents, dead by AIDS. He was gay. Michael grew up to be a lawyer and senior official in the Reagan and Bush administrations. Through his lover they learned Michael had privately wondered about his birth mother all his life, and, in his final months, had travelled to Ireland in an attempt to find her. This movie gives us many controversial questions. I strongly recommend Philomena!

 

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