Philomena ★★★½

Biopic with a hot topic like this must be so easy to go down the usual route: wallowing in miserablism and making one's blood boil. What's refreshing about the film is how the titular character works against the latter by the end (when most of us will feel that emotion acutely), helped by Judi Dench's superlative performance. And by letting the two characters have personalities outsides of the case, Coogan's script provides them with humor and humanity that evade the miserablism admirably. The direction and score can get a tad heavy, but the story and how it is told overall are well handled and heartbreaking.