Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star as real-life Philomena Lee and  journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star as real-life Philomena Lee and journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Philomena up for four Oscars

The Vernon Film Society’s next film will be Philomena, showing at the Towne Cinema Monday, Feb. 3.

The Vernon Film Society’s next film will be Philomena, showing at the Towne Cinema Monday.

The film is nominated for four Oscars, including best picture as well as best actress for Judi Dench, adapted screenplay, and original score.

Director Steven Frears (The Queen) teams with  Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Steve Coogan (The Trip) for this powerful true story of an unmarried Irish Catholic woman who, decades after being forced to give up her newborn son, embarks on a search to find him with the help of a BBC reporter.

In 1950s Ireland, Catholic authorities shamed thousands of “fallen” women, including Philomena Lee, into giving up their children for adoption. After searching for 50 years, Philomena asks recently unemployed journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) to help her.

Determined to be positive, Philomena shares stories from her past, savouring every moment on the trip to meet her child

Dench gives a tour-de-force performance as Philomena, perfectly complemented by Coogan. The stars share a natural chemistry, and their wry humour lightens the more sombre moments.

While revealing some of the church’s darker moments, Philomena also reminds us that one of its greatest virtues is forgiveness.

Philomena is funny, moving, beautifully performed and directed with restraint and a wonderfully delicate touch,” said Mark Adams, with Screen International.

Philomena screens Monday, Feb. 3 at the Towne Cinema at regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week ahead at the Towne and the Bean Scene for $7.