These two unlikely companions are on a journey to find her long lost son.

Judi Dench leads this UK drama directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), the true story of a single mother in search for her adult son, separated after a Christian community forced them apart decades ago. Co-starring and co-written by Steve Coogan, adapting the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith.... More

Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee (Dench) was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a "fallen woman". When her baby was only a toddler, he was whisked away by the nuns to America for adoption. Philomena spent the next 50 years searching for him in vain. Then she met Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), a world-weary BBC journalist as cynical as Philomena was trusting. Together they set off for America, forging a bond themselves, to try and find Philomena's son.Hide

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Flicks Review

Weepies can be risky territory. Get them wrong and you've made bad TV, but get them right and the rewards are yours for the taking. All of which makes Philomena a particularly brave move for Steve Coogan. Never the most natural of straight-men, he gives his most dignified performance yet, in a film he co-scripted, co-produced and generally shepherded to the screen.... More

Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) is a disgraced political journalist who meets Irish pensioner Philomena (Dench) in order to write a human-interest story on the child she was forced to give away as a young, “shamed” woman in the care of Roman Catholic nuns. Mostly this involves a Rain Man-ish trip across Ireland and America, with Sixsmith's diffidence and Philomena's genial dizziness leading to moments both moving and amusing. “What if he's a drug addict?” asks the devout Philomena, anxiously. “Or obese?”

Although based on Sixsmith's true story, the plot points feels a touch too neat, too telegraphed to have come from non-fiction. However, Dench's charm and Coogan's restraint keep the characters engaging and director Stephen Frears summons real power in the film's closing scenes, a quiet condemnation of religious certainty.

It's a softer proposition than something like The Magdalene Sisters – and perhaps too soft for Partridge fans – a fuddy-duddy, buddy-buddy flick that makes up in sweetness what it lacks in surprise. But it would take a heart of stone not to be moved by Philomena's plight, and only a fool would bet against a Dench nomination come awards season.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 12 ratings, 13 reviews
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And a true story worth telling well. Judi Dench hits the mark with her character perfectly, and both leads generate a good balance of humour and pathos.
Steve Coogan shows he's capable of delivering restraint and nuance in both acting and his role as co-writer, and gives a fine performance too. - One that could be considered diametrically opposed to that of his duel contributing roles in Alan Partridge Alpha Papa.

Remarkable story line. Powerful. Dench does it again, brilliant performance. Tenacious.
May God have mercy on their Souls..

BY thorinoak superstar

A stunning example of the power of love and forgiveness in this true story with outstanding performances from Dench and Coogan.

BY Brendan3 superstar

Sad and funny
Well acted and great story.
The real life Philomena approved of this movie.

A fantastic film which pulls at every cord of your emotions with Judy Dench performing a perfect mix between comedy and heart warming emotion. This film is a powerful story with stellar performances from both leading cast members. It keeps you gripped right from beginning to end and I can see no flaws in it.

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The Press Reviews

92% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Lets viewers spend time with its characters and get to know exactly who's getting hurt. It arrives at an inevitable destination, but the journey is what makes it moving. Full Review

  • A terrific, sophisticated comedy that tackles serious issues with a lightness of touch and a spirit of steel. Full Review

  • A moving and exhilarating film, and the strange chemistry between Dench and Coogan ferments into a 120-degree proof emotional drama. Full Review

  • Stephen Frears returns to top form in a touching, at times funny true story of grave injustice and a mother's search for closure. Full Review

  • Watch both actors lean into characters seeking redemption; their clash is invigorating, with a mature payoff that has two minds meeting and getting further along. Full Review

  • Odd-couple chemistry from Dench and Coogan, a smart script and honed direction make this real-life story highly compelling. Full Review

  • A howl of anti-clerical outrage wrapped in a tea cozy... applies amusing banter and a sheen of good taste to the real-life quest of Philomena Lee. Full Review

The Talk
92 %

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