Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

November 25, 2013

CALLERI: Judi Dench's new movie shifts gears too often


Niagara Gazette — The true nature of the actual story keeps getting bumped aside. Coogan and Jeff Pope’s screenplay abruptly changes tone at every opportunity. The film’s pacing is too obvious. Slow and dreary for Ireland. Peppy and feisty for D.C. Clearly, director Stephen Frears didn’t know what thematic hand to play. He should have chosen drama.

Through all of the script and directing problems with the movie, there’s an unshakeable moral center. Dench is so good that nothing can disrupt your acceptance that Philomena Lee is a woman of such deep and abiding faith that her willingness to forgive can move mountains.

Michael Calleri reviews films for Night and Day. Contact him at

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