EXCLUSIVE: It sure isn’t easy being a Catholic these days, especially on a movie screen. Philomena Lee, subject of the just-released Oscar season film Philomena, has taken the unusual step of directly answering a New York Post critic who slammed the Stephen Frears-directed adaptation of her story as an attack on the Catholic faith, as well as Republicans.
Lee is played in the film by Judi Dench, and her story is a crusher: She was sent to a Catholic abbey in Ireland as a teen after she got pregnant and, as was the custom then, was compelled to sign away her rights to the child. She still cared for him for the first three years of his life while she worked as an indentured laundry lady, and then saw her son given up for adoption. The movie is about how, after keeping this a shameful secret for 50 years, she teamed with a disgraced journalist named Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) to find that son. Since it’s an exceptionally personal story, she has chosen to speak out about a particularly nasty review by Kyle Smith of The New York Post that has become a Twitter hot-button topic.