Bad title. Instead, Philomena , played by Dame Judi Dench, should have been titled something like, "They're Taking Anthony". This movie is: a mystery and an attempt to solve a heinous crime; a story about unconditional love between mother and son; a story about Aids being ignored inside the Reagan administration while its employees were dying from it; a story about the importance of freelance journalism; a story about a mother's acceptance of her son's homosexuality;a story about sexual guilt and shame; a story about the crimes of the Catholic church who sold children of unwed mothers for financial gain; a story about forgiveness; a story with values. Stephen Frears, its director is given little credit though he has done a masterful job. The production values are exquisite. After walking from a screening of Nebraska which was a slow journey about making amends towards one's father and a great film because of the magnificent performances of Bruce Dern and the townsfolk of Lincoln who never had a publicist, but whose acting is every bit as good as Dern's, and pondering the merits of The Wolf of Wall Street while comparing all three,Philomena is the easy winner,
As to Wolf of Wall Street, this film is devoid of values. It is cheap sexual exploitation. The use of drugs, yes, is part of the story, and, yes, profits from this movie are going to charity. But slick criminal Jordan Belford is becoming a household name due to this despicable film.
Yes, Jordan Belford portrayed brilliantly by Leonardo di Caprio, is 17 years sober which is commendable, but this film is a glorification of Belford's drug use turned into comedy with no direct amends made by Belford to those he injured. Yes, Belford says he is giving all profits to these folks, but has he tried to make amends on a personal level to one? Just one? On Piers Morgan's interview with him on CNN he says, "No,"
But my main objection to Wolf of Wall Street is its director. Scorsese may feel drug use is funny to glorify, but it is not. On top of this is the horrible exploitation of women with its gorgeous star, Margot Robbie, sitting spread eagle on the carpet while a camera films her nakedness is the cheapest shot of manipulative Scorsese's career.
"Oh, you'll be in a Marty Scorsese film," our beautiful heroine is told. Ba Humbug. Scorsese talked this naïve beauty from down under to expose her down under. And what about all the other naked women, treated like extras, who strut around the office showing their unshaven selves. What a casting session Marty must have enjoyed choosing these women!
"Oh, you'll be in a Marty Scorsese film," these naïve actresses were again told. Oh, please, Marty grow some cahoonis! Have some respect for women! This nudity was gratuitous and did not advance the plot. It was unnecessary. Could it be because Marty has been married five times that he is projecting his repressed anger towards women onto the screen needlessly? Oh, wait, he did direct Jonah Hill to masturbate and show his erection on camera so he leveled his playing field regarding sexploitation.
Wolf of Wall Street is a pretentious film about exploitation. Period.
Philomena is based on a true story and ultimately about redemption. It is based on a book written by Martin Sixsmith titled The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. Scorsese could learn a thing or three from Stephen Frears, Stephen Coogan who wrote the screenplay, starred in it and produced it, Martin Sixsmith and, Philomena, herself.
Scorsese at 5'3" is a little man.