Real-life ‘Philomena’ (nicely) takes on film critic Kyle Smith

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in the drama "Philomena." Credit: TWC Publicity
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in the drama “Philomena.”
Credit: TWC Publicity

Film criticism, like filmmaking, does not attract many conservatives, and one of the few — The New York Post’s Kyle Smith — does not hide his views. One can rely on him to speak against any film that could even remotely denigrate his political stripe. The latest subject of his epithet-heavy ire is “Philomena,” the well-received crowd-pleaser starring Judi Dench as one Philomena Lee, a real-life Irish woman whose child was taken from her at a Catholic convent and whose identity was consciously kept from view. He was, to say the least, not moved by this real-life tragedy.

“There’s no other purpose to the movie,” he charges, “than to simultaneously attack Catholics and Republicans.” Perhaps worse, “the film is a witless bore about a ninny and a jerk having one of those dire, heavily staged, only-in-movies odd-couple road trips.” (The Metro also didn’t enjoy the film, though we’d only agree with the second part, minus the characterization of Lee as a “ninny.”)

The real Lee has retaliated, albeit in the most nice old Irish lady way possible. Her letter, published by Deadline Hollywood, starts by calling him “Kyle” — to pile on the guilt straight away — then proceeds to maintain that the film was not done out of hate. “The story it tells has resonated with people not because it’s some mockery of ideas or institutions that they’re in disagreement with,” Lee says. “This is not a rally cry against the church or politics. In fact, despite some of the troubles that befell me as a young girl, I have always maintained a very strong hold on my faith.”

She does admittedly go a touch far with her conclusion, though it’s understandable (and kind of satisfying, to be honest): “Just as I forgave the church for what happened with my son, I forgive you for not taking the time to understand my story. I do hope though that the families heading to the movie theatre to see the film decide for themselves — and disagree with you.”

For the record, “Philomena” — co-starring and co-written by legendary comic performer Steve Coogan, who does a finem, unpleasant version of the cliche of the intellectual jerk who needs to get knocked down a peg or two — goes out of its way to distinguish between Catholics and the institution that preys (or at least once preyed) on certain “unsavory” members. Even after discovering the truth, Lee retains her faith, and [spoiler, though it's based on a real, easily available story] forgives those who made her life miserable. (Meanwhile, Coogan’s atheist comes off like a jerk who deserves receiving an f-bomb from Dame Judi.)

Moreover, Lee should just be happy she didn’t tear his limbs off and beat him with it over this paragraph in his review: “The film doesn’t mention that in 1952 Ireland, both mother and child’s life would have been utterly ruined by an out-of-wedlock birth and that the nuns are actually giving both a chance at a fresh start that both indeed, in real life, enjoyed.” Yes, Lee should have been happy that her son was taken away from her and his whereabouts systematically kept from her.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.