Philomena ★★★½

"Fucking Catholics!"

Judi Dench, ahem, Dame Judi Dench gives a really great performance (shocking), embodying the super entertaining character of Philomena with warmth and lightheartedness, her buddy camaraderie with Steve Coogan providing humor and levity to balance out the really sad story at the center of the film. Everything feels really paint by numbers in its directorial choices, but in the end this feels like a case of earned manipulation, potentially cracking a few tear ducts all while angering me in its display of the awful and evil ways of organized religion. But Philomena, never one to cast blame, is an inspiring example of true forgiveness and living what you preach.

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