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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BY Matt Glasby Flicks Writer
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
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BY JungleJim grader
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.
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 AmazingJane grader
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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