King Lear (Simon Russell Beale) is growing old and maybe even feels dementia approaching, so he decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and their husbands. But he expects a certain amount of flattery for it, which his youngest (and up to this point favorite) daughter Cordelia (Olivia Vinall) is unwilling to give him. Lear takes this as a sign that she doesn’t love him and banishes her. But a feeble king is the opportunity for all kinds of power struggles and soon there is trouble stirring all over.
This production of King Lear practically lives off the monumental performance by Simon Russell Beale. Though the rest isn’t bad either, he just takes center stage and completely dominates it. And maybe he should do that more often because the result is awesome.
Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is a recently unemployed journalist, looking for a new challenge. When he is approached to write about the story of Philomena (Judi Dench), he is nevertheless hesitant. Philomena, now an old woman, had a child at a very young age (Sophie Kennedy Clark). That son was given away against her will by the nuns she lived with and worked for. And all of Philomena’s attempts to find him again were stonewalled. Since Martin can’t find a better story, he goes along with this one and finds himself very intrigued after a short while.
Philomena’s story is worth telling and the movie is engaging but I did think that it was missing a bit impact. Nevertheless it’s a sweet film with a nice sense of humor and a touching story.