Actually, the line in the movie, " Philomena," was "fucking Catholics," which proved to be very popular with the Hollywood, secular, religion-hating crowd. Not that they needed the movie to remind them that Irish Catholic clergy in particular are deserving of hatred.
Now, the same crowd is raking New York Post critic Kyle Smith over the coals for daring to say that Philmoena was another attack on Catholics. Said Smith:
With “Philomena,” British producer-writer-star Steve Coogan and director Stephen Frears hit double blackjack, finding a true-life tale that would enable them to simultaneously attack Catholics and Republicans.
There’s no other purpose to the movie, so if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now.
For the rest of us, 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….
Aside from that, Smith found the movie to be boring, obvious, trite and heavy-handed. Hence, highly offended by a critic expressing an opinion, Harvey Weinstein, the film's US distributor took out a full-page, color ad in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today excoriating Smith. Within the ad is a letter to Smith from the real Philomena, chiding him for, in effect, missing the point of the movie: to wit:
Kyle, Stephen’s movie about my story is meant to be a testament to good things, not an attack. It is a testament to the undying bond that’s exists between mothers and their children, something that I’ve found time and distance have no bearing on. It is a testament to the willingness to never give up on keeping that bond alive, even if all odds are pointing you against it. It is also a testament to the fact that no matter how old we grow, there is always a chance we will meet someone, however different from us, that might impact our views on humanity and help guide us on a new, if perhaps unforeseen, path.
Well, there's that. I saw the movie and that message came through. Actually, I didn't think the movie was all that bad. But what coming through in raw, appalling detail was the allegedly horrific conditions Philomena faced when she found herself in a home for unwed mothers run by Catholic nuns. I can't say whether the depiction was true or not, and Philomena doesn't go into the subject in her open letter. But I did turn to my wife after the movie and ask if she thought that nuns were really that horrible. Yes, she said.
Evil, would be more like it, if the depiction were true. We could be certain that the old nun who was unrepentant at the end of the movie for how the "sinful" pregnant girls were treated was heading straight for hell. It was a pretty brutal depiction, one that I'm sure reinforced a lot of anti-Catholic stereotypes about the mackerel-snappers and bead-squeezers and their obsession with sex.
Smith's observation seems like an appropriate way to end this post:
A film that is half as harsh on Judaism or Islam, of course, wouldn’t be made in the first place but would be universally reviled if it were. “Philomena” is a sucker punch, or maybe a sugary slice of arsenic cake.
See incisive, additional comments from Patrick Hickey in his authentically Chicago blog "With Both Hands."
Related: Atheist war on Christ and Christmas
Here is the film's official trailer:
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