Philomena (2013)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Based on a powerful true story and led by note-perfect performances from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Philomena offers a profoundly affecting drama for adult filmgoers of all ages.

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Movie Info

Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. (c) Weinstein
Rating:
PG-13 (for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual reference)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Judi Dench
as Philomena Lee
Steve Coogan
as Martin Sixsmith
Sophie Kennedy Clark
as Young Philomena
Ruth McCabe
as Mother Barbara
Barbara Jefford
as Sister Hildegarde
Michelle Fairley
as Sally Mitchell
Peter Hermann
as Pete Olsson
Kate Fleetwood
as Young Sister Hildegarde
Sean Mahon
as Michael
Wunmi Mosaku
as Young Nun
Amy McCallister
as Sister Anunciata
Rita Hamill
as Nursery Nun
Tadhg Bowen
as Young Anthony
Saoirse Bowen
as Young Mary
Harrison D'Ampney
as Anthony (8-10 Years)
DJ McGrath
as John
Simone Lahbib
as Kate Sixsmith
Sara Stewart
as Marcia Weller
Gary Lilburn
as Priest
Nicholas Jones
as Dr. Robert
Marie Jones
as Barman's Mum
Vaughn Joseph
as Receptionist Hotel
Shug Fisher
as Omelette Chef
I. King Jordan
as Waitress
Amber Batty
as Marge
Florence Keith-Roach
as Check In Operator
George Michael Rados
as Priest In Church
Nika McGuigan
as Bridie
George Fisher
as Omelette Chef
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News & Interviews for Philomena

Critic Reviews for Philomena

All Critics (175) | Top Critics (45)

What at first seems formulaic comedy gains a deeper resonance as we see how they represent two responses to cruelty and injustice -- first outrage, and with time, eventually, forgiveness.

Full Review… | December 22, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It's smart and unsweetened.

Full Review… | December 10, 2013
Grantland
Top Critic

Even as Philomena embraces the expected feel-good dynamics, it avoids taking the usual path and doesn't paint all of the "evil" nuns with the same brush.

Full Review… | November 28, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

We wouldn't care about any of this if the performances were weak. But both actors find complexity and depth.

Full Review… | November 27, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.

Full Review… | November 26, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

Director Steven Frears deserves special mention. A lesser filmmaker could so easily have turned this project into mushy, sentimental junk. The tear-jerking moments here are heartfelt and real. It's the kind of filmmaking we see too little of today.

Full Review… | November 26, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Philomena

A remarkable film in every way. The acting was excellent -- a lifetime of pain and regret can been seen in Dench's eyes at certain times. The script was wonderful -- credibly showing different (but equally valid) reactions to unspeakable injustice by two people of different ages, faith experiences, genders, and educational backgrounds. This is one of my favorite films of 2013.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

½

These two unlikely companions are on a journey to find her long lost son. Very Good FIim! Sometimes I get the feeling filmmakers have lost their way. Formulas work and make the basics irrelevant so we get carbon copy blockbusters appealing to the masses clearly showing a reckless disregard for what filmmaking is all about: visually telling a story. And then a film like Philomena comes along and reminds us of the magic that can happen when a true craftsman and artist skillfully blends the basic ingredients of story, character, camera, and music into an exhilarating and powerful work of art. This film is satisfying at every level and gives me hope that some people still know what they are doing when they take the money and do their job effectively. The folks on this one should be extremely proud of their efforts. When former journalist Martin Sixsmith is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is at a loss as to what do. That changes when a young Irish woman approaches him about a story of her mother, Philomena, who had her son taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent. Martin arranges a magazine assignment about her search for him that eventually leads to America. Along the way, Martin and Philomena discover as much about each other as about her son's fate. Furthermore, both find their basic beliefs challenged.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

½

Phenomenal. Par excellence.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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