Based on a true story, this warm drama uses sharp humour to keep from tipping over into sloppy sentiment. It's still hugely emotional, but in a shamelessly entertaining way. And it gives Judi Dench and Steve Coogan characters they can really sink their teeth into as the twists and turns of the real events unfold.
In 2002, cynical London journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) has just been sacked from his job as a government spin doctor, so his editor suggests he try a human interest story to get back to work. He hates the idea until he meets Philomena (Dench), a retired Irishwoman who was raised by nuns in a workhouse, where she was forced to give her baby son up for adoption some 50 years ago. She'd like to know what happened to him, so Martin accompanies her back to Ireland and then on to America, where the babies were sold. But their search doesn't go as expected, and what they discover is startlingly moving.
As he did with The Queen, director Frears gives the film a gentle, light tone that helps balance the intensely serious subject matter. He also encourages his cast to deliver understated performances, which is especially effective for the usually broad Coogan. And of course Dench is simply wonderful as a feisty straight-talker who isn't thrown by anything she encounters. Gurgling under everything is an astute look at religious heritage: Martin is a lapsed Catholic who can't understand why Philomena still has a devout faith, because of what the church has done to her. And as the story continues, he begins to understand the strength this gives her.
Continue reading: Philomena Review
Jade Butterfield is a wealthy and beautiful young teenager who loves to read and has never experienced an intimate relationship with a boy before. However, that begins to change when she meets David Axelrod; a handsome young man who works at the inn where the Butterfields stay on their summer vacation. Jade's parents notice her suddenly becoming distracted as she embarks on a reckless adventure with her mysterious boy. On meeting David, her parents are unimpressed, with her father attempting to show up any flicker of dishonesty that he might exhibit. Undeterred, he takes Jade on a passion-fuelled adventure of parties, road trips and fervent love-making, but when Mr Butterfield digs into his past he becomes obsessed with trying to unveil the dark truths about him, and becomes desperate to take David out of Jade's life by any means possible.
'Endless Love' is the dramatic romance re-make of the 1981 movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. It has been directed by Shana Feste ('The Greatest', 'Country Strong') who co-wrote the screenplay opposite Joshua Safran ('Gossip Girl'). This harrowing film about an ill-fated youthful romance is set to hit movie theatres in the US on Valentine's Day, February 14th 2014.