When Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years A Slave” won the Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award, we were slightly surprised—given that the prize generally tends to lean toward more crowd-pleasing movies—but we weren’t surprised to see Stephen Frears‘ “Philomena” take one of the runner-up slots. The film has been warmly received at Venice, Telluride and Toronto, and now it’s headed to theaters, where The Weinstein Company are surely hoping it can turn out some hardware for them during the awards season.
Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, the dramedy tells the true story of disgraced journalist/spin-doctor Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), who joins Philomena (Dench) on her quest to track down the child she was forced to give up for adoption as a teenager. What seems like a rather one-note premise turns out to be something rather “lovely and deceptively complex,” we noted in our review out of Venice. The film finds humor in some very dramatic places and features some nice chemistry between Dench and Coogan.
“Philomena” opens in NY and LA first on Christmas Day, and goes wide on January 10th. Watch below.