ImageI was an actress in Disney's THE LION KING at the historic Pantages Theatre when a cousin of mine came to visit Los Angeles. At lunch one day, she hit me with news that she was really adopted and we were not blood relatives.  What???!!!  "How is this possible?"...and then my cousin confessed that her adoption was an attempt to hide another relative's unplanned pregnancy.  I know some of you have your jaws dropped because I know my jaw was down to my crack!  So the question is how do you deal with the the hauntings of the past?  Do you pretend the events never happened or do they frequently cross you mind causing you pain and sorrow wondering what would have happened if...?

This is exactly how we are introduced to this true story based on the book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee" by Martin Sixsmith. In1951, Philomena, an unmarried young woman in Ireland gave birth to a baby boy. Sent to have the baby in a convent home, she remained there until her son Anthony was given away against her will at 3 years old, adopted by an American family. She would spend some 50 years with no idea what became of him, while keeping her secret from the family she would start in England.

Enter journalist, Martin Sixssmith, who after being sacked unceremoniously by the BBC joins forces with Philomena on a journey to America in which they discover so much more about themselves and her son.

Dame Judi Dench, breaks your heart, as Philomena Lee.  She has the innate ability to make you forget you are watching an actress playing a character. Even though you know it is a true story, you find yourself rooting for a different outcome than what is witnessed.  She truly is one of the best that Britain has to offer.

British comedian, Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith, makes you loathe, pity and love him simultaneously.  Brilliant acting at its best!!!

Being in the middle of doing my family tree with my Mom, this story makes me wonder if we have uncovered all there is to know in our own family. However, watching this film makes me appreciate that I never had to grow up without Mommy, for it is having her in my life all these years that have contributed to me recognizing my strengths, my shortcomings and my ability to love and be loved.

PHILOMENA is in theatres now!!!



Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!