Judi Dench has already been nominated for six Academy Awards (she won once) and she could soon find herself on another ballot. Her new movie, Philomena, has won great reviews and several critics have placed Dench at the front of the Oscar race.
In a piece called "Reserve An Oscar For Judi Dench," Time Magazine author Mary Corliss writes: "Judi Dench gives a performance of grace, nuance and cinematic heroism. You might say it's f—ing brilliant."
Philomena recently made its debut at the Venice Film Festival and critics have been raving about it ever since. The movie focuses on the true story of Philomena Lee, a woman who had her son taken away by the church after she became pregnant as a teenager.
Lee spent nearly 50 years looking for her son and was eventually able to find him with the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith.
The movie is equal parts comedy and drama and most critics agree that Dench gives her character a perfect blend of dignity and humor.
Indie Wire writes: "While she can be terribly funny, Dench is also supremely moving in her role... The story, and Dench, could have easily lapsed into a treacly pit, and while the 'cute Irish lady' card is definitely played, it's presented in a compellingly joyous fashion so that it never grates... Dench takes your breath away, and so does Philomena."
Deadline also notes that Philomena had audiences crying and laughing at the same time.
Deadline writes: "It screened to laughs, tears and lots of applause – the latter both during and after the film... Although Philomena treats a very delicate subject matter, which resulted in the pulling out of a lot of hankies in the Sala Darsena, it's also a very funny and heart-warming film."
The LA Times writes that the positive reviews out of Venice prompted Harvey Weinstein and Co. to set a Christmas Day release date in major markets like New York and Los Angeles. The movie is set to hit theaters nationwide in January.