Now to be clear, these were good movies and good actors, but Philomena and Judi Dench were at least as good. The truth is that a film with no sex/vulgarity/violence about a mother's love for her son and a great social injustice wasn't something mainstream Hollywood could relate to. True the cause of Philomena's grief and her son's misery was unsanctioned sex--but it didn't take place on the screen. And Dame Judi Dench, 79, is hardly eye candy for the typical lusty male audience.
The fact that many Hollywood notables have adopted children couldn't have helped put Philomena in the winners' circle. Given what we know about adoptive parents--even today's younger ones--a lot of them make it abundantly clear that they do not want their (adopted) children to give a hoot about the women who bore them. The story of a mother involuntarily stripped of her child by a corrupt church, then denied the right to even know about him, and him denied the right to know about her may pull at heart strings, but ultimately gets set aside as sort of a genre film. Or maybe a "woman's film." Sad, but so what? In some way it's a wonder the movie was made at all.
Women are still losing their children to forced adoption, paying the ultimate price for unsanctioned sex, or for simply being too poor to raise another child; adoptees are still searching fruitlessly for their kin folk despite often unsurmountable odds (like sealed records, sealed original birth certificates) but these topics are not sexy enough, or perhaps the opposite--too daring, too outragous--for those who vote on who wins the most coveted prize in Hollywood.--- jane