Philomena | On a Roll | Paul Bendix | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

E-mail Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

Philomena

Uploaded: Dec 9, 2013
The Guild Theater, one of the Bay Area's last single-screen houses, has a stunning feature: Philomena. Judi Dench is always worthwhile seeing, but the many-layered story had my wife and I talking for hours.

The plot involves a long-buried Irish scandal and its injustices. While the story and the mystery at its heart drives the action, what's underneath proves more confounding. The heroine, an artless victim, cannot confront the worldly forces arrayed against her. The hero, a seasoned, jaded reporter, cannot conquer them either...without her help.

At least, that's the surface plot. Go deeper, and Philomena takes a hard-nosed look at modernity.

To get to the truth of her family tragedy, the character Philomena needs to abandon anger and thoughts of revenge. She doesn't see her narrative in terms of good versus evil. The muckraking reporter, driven by outrage, wants wrongdoers exposed. His editor needs a tale of clear-cut villainy and heroics.

The class divisions also speak to our age. Philomena has spent her life as a laborer and absorbs tearjerking pulp fiction without an ounce of irony. The reporter, who is all irony, rolls his eyes as she recounts the banal plots. Philomena shivers at the cost of corporate travel. The reporter shivers at the prospect of not boosting his paper's circulation. Interestingly, audiences can grasp these class distinctions across three countries and two continents.

We all need stories, the film seems to say. And how we tell them has much to do with how we live them.

Who is closer to the truth of life? Can investigative journalism function without skepticism, not to mention ire? Yet who can absorb loss with a closed and angry heart? We need innocence to be human, sophistication to survive the world – and this film repeatedly pits one against the other, to great effect.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get the most important local news stories sent straight to your inbox daily.

Specialty's Cafe and Bakery comes back to life in Mountain View (cookies included)
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 10,805 views

Couples and Premarital: How Do You Define Love?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,961 views

Kill two birds with one ... mini-split!
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,547 views

March Madness for Seniors
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,098 views

 

Submit your story today

The 35th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Submit your short story here by April 2 (online submissions only). Stories must be 2,500 words or less. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details