Mariska Hargitay, Peter Hermann, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, Amaya Josephine Hermann and Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann - Mariska Hargitay Walk of Fame Star Ceremony, next to the star of her mother, Jayne Mansfield on Hollywood Boulevard - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 8th November 2013
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
Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay - Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay and son August New York City, USA - Arthur Christmas MTA Shuttle unveiling at Grand Central Shuttle Station 42nd Street Saturday 12th November 2011
The horrors of September 11, 2001, have been well documented. Seconds after American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the World Trade Center's north tower, our collective attentions fixed on the unthinkable scene. Hours stretched into days as we huddled around television sets questioning reality and wondering how such a thing could have happened on our soil.
Reconstructed, minute-by-minute accounts of that morning's tragic events miraculously leave some facets hidden. In between the black box recordings, government-commissioned studies, and Internet conspiracy theories lie untold stories of courage and determination that are deeply rooted in the American spirit of retaliation and our inherent desire to fight back when pinned against a proverbial wall.
Continue reading: United 93 Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.