On a TV:
1. The Land Unknown (1957) -- C-
2. Seconds (1966) -- B+
3. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) -- C
1. Philomena (B+)
Stephen Frears is a very interesting director, in that I have a hard time identifying much of a unifying style to his filmography, beyond generally being of high quality. A restraint with material that might be mawkish in other hands, perhaps; certainly that's in evidence here, approaching the story of a woman searching for her child, who she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier after giving birth in an Irish Catholic institute for unwed mothers. The story is a tragicomedy, one part buddy movie (pairing Judi Dench's titular goodhearted, if somewhat simple, title character with Steve Coogan's journalist, who is a mix of cynical and righteous) and one part sad story (the resolution to Philomena's search is bittersweet at best). There are plenty of opportunities for corny or overly sentimental emotional beats, but the script manages to sidestep them. It's a fairly simple story, but well-told, and superbly acted by Dench.