Philomena - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Philomena Reviews

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December 30, 2018
Beautifully acted. A disturbing but also heart-warming story. Reflects profoundly on the nature of religion and forgiveness.
December 23, 2018
Gobsmacking, and ultimately touching, story, Coogan is not completely convincing as Sixsmith, but at least doesn't revert to all his usual Partridge-like tics (perhaps well directed by Frears), while the latter dials up the hysteria when it could have been more subtly done, but hey, that's his style.
December 21, 2018
As much as "Philomena" is a delightfully satisfying portrait of a morally inspiring woman with an epic resolve and terrific character, the movie also possesses a seriously pervasive undercurrent of journalistic intrigue, where you -- the audience member -- are utterly riveted from the moment Dench and Coogan set off on their journey until it finally comes to a close. It's like a good true crime narrative, but replace the shock value with genuine pathos and the central suspect with one of the finest people I've seen depicted in a movie in a long time. "Philomena" is a triumphant, beautiful, and unquestionably fascinating depiction of an equally fascinating true story.
December 16, 2018
Really, really liked it. The story inspired me a lot about forgiveness and how different people few that topic. Also it was good to see the story of the laundries come to light.
½ September 2, 2018
A very lovely film that...honestly, I watched it only because Judi Dench starred in it.

Being such a supremely talented actress, she is portrays the lovely old lady persona that she usually plays on the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the film despite its wistful and poignant plot, as Judi Dench's portrayal of Philomena's sense of humour and lighthearted spirit makes the intense, true-story subject matter more manageable to digest.
½ June 19, 2018
A precious story of a mother forced to give up her child for adoption seeking to reconnect at a later age with the assistance of a journalist. What they find is surprising, heartbreaking and a lesson on everyone's individuality and humanity.
½ May 1, 2018
what's done is done..


The exaggeration of one's affection and the keen sense of hunger towards the personality is projected with utter beauty and through little maniacal things that actually sweetens it up. Steven Coogan and Jeff Pope's adaptation from Martin Sixsmith's book may be short and edited nicely but isn't smart or effective as the writers think. If the script is a let down, then Stephen Frears saves it brilliantly through its amazing execution skills that doesn't fail to impress the audience. Judi Dench stands alone on performance in here as she is the core strength and the highlight of the feature despite of Steve Coogan's decent act. Philomena is surely an important feature that draws out essential questions and emotions on screen but on terms of drama; that is its genre, it fails to create the anticipated impact.
March 29, 2018
5/5. Philomena is a very funny movie that takes a sharp turn into heartbreak. I was not expecting where this film took me, nor was I prepared of it. But I'm glad it did. Excellent performances and a compelling story makes this one of the best films of 2013.
February 24, 2018
An interesting story and some particularly unique characterization by Judi Dench.
½ February 22, 2018
Commendably balanced; it avoids sweetening or becoming stuck in heavy themes. Dench and Coogan are moving to watch within the well-told true story. Put to screen a bit too stylishly, and doesn't rise above other greats in its genre.
January 28, 2018
A good film but I can't help feeling that it had some Hallmark TV vibes going for it.
January 27, 2018
Judi Dench is fabulous as always and nice to see Steve Coogan in a serious role and nailing it.
½ December 20, 2017
fun story but not the most funny or entertaining
½ December 17, 2017
Puntaje Original: 6.5

Sorprendente y reflexiva historia.
½ November 27, 2017
Frears is very hit and miss and for me this is much more of a miss. Even at only 90mins I found it very dull mostly...let's be honest it's basically 'Long Lost Family' the movie. Great for Mother's Day but not for anything else.
November 7, 2017
Based on a Powerful True Story "Philomena" Tugs Heartstrings. Led by an incredible performance by Judi Dench, "Philomena" tells us the heart-breaking story of a mother looking for her long lost son.

Two-time Oscar winner Judi Dench hits a new peak in her acting career with a performance for the ages. Dench plays Philomena Lee, a good Irish-Catholic out to find her long lost son the nuns at the Roscrea Convent took from her 50 years ago. Dench's performance is inspirational and is the foundation for the film. She was nominated for Best Actress - in a Leading Role. This is her sixth Oscar nomination in her career. She meets Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), an atheist Brit journalist who not only tells her story but also helps search for her son. Coogan not only acted but also co-wrote and produced this film. He does a tremendous job as the skeptical journalist who talks down God and the purpose in life.

When Lee goes to Sixsmith and asked him to help search for her son, he is torn between writing a good journalism story or finding out the truth of what happened to her son. Director Stephen Frears (The Queen) exposes the wrongdoings of the Catholic Church's past and the nun's hypocrisy. Throughout this film we see the how people still fall short in life and hiding old sins under the rug will never go away, like the nuns thought they would. Lee is able to still rise above all the immoral corruption of the Catholic Church and still holds her faith close to her.

Through the highs and lows throughout the film Lee and Sixsmith's chemistry deepens and Sixsmith starts looking at life through a different perspective. In one of the last and more emotional scenes, Dench shows us the true power of forgiveness at the end. This incredible story needs to be shared to everyone. It will surely tug at your heartstrings.
½ September 24, 2017
When we just don't know what is the matter with us when all results say everything is fine. When we do know some things are wrong when it's our career we know we have to get back on our feet.

When others don't wish us to know to cover everything up and hide evidence of their existence. When we know that if we follow the source and clues we will get to what we need to know.

When we do know that times were difficult living in such places that it needs to be seen by those that don't know such places existed. When we don't see that there is this place where lives are worth a price to legally purchase, we only know a few knew across the country that makes knowing such precious items exist, Americans are first to know. When we know such institutions that hide behind the vail of something holy can hold secrets to profit from the unfortunate when no other institutions were available to make the world know such things were happening.
September 3, 2017
I enjoyed every aspect of this film based on true events, and was engrossed in the story, which was ultimately sad. Had a few tears in my eyes on several occasions towards the end. AAN GGN
August 21, 2017
7.5/10 Great acting by Dench. The character of Martin is a bit 2-dimensional for this movie, but overall a nice story, albeit given one-sided as it is.
August 19, 2017
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Greg, we just saw Philomena, yet another movie this year that is inspired by a true events.

GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) It seems as though Judi Dench can portray almost anyone. Lets recap.

SCOTT: We meet an elderly Irish woman named Philomena (Judi Dench), who had a son while she was a young teen. Her family was so ashamed that they sent her to a Catholic convent where she worked seven days a week and was only allowed to see her son one hour a day. One day the convent gave her son to adoptive parents without allowing Philomena to say goodbye to him. Fifty years have passed since this painful day, and now Philomena wants to find out what happened to her son.

GREG: The trail leads to America where Philomena and investigative reporter Martin (Steve Coogan) fly to find the adult son. Philomena has been thinking about him for 50 years and is worried that he might be homeless, or sick, or God forbid, obese. What happens next is an amusing fish out of water story as Martin and Phil traverse America in search of her long lost son.

SCOTT: Greg, Philomena is a charming story that chronicles two different hero journeys. First, there is the tale of a woman searching for a big chunk of her missing past. She s looking to recover this missing quality and we, the audience, derive great satisfaction seeing her handle both triumph and setback as her story unfolds. But there is an equally interesting story of a journalist, Martin, who is also looking to recover from a serious blow to his career. He believes that pursuing Philomena s human interest story is the means to restoring his professional dignity but he discovers that the story carries more personal weight than he ever could have imagined. Both of these hero journeys contain enough surprises and intrigue to keep us keenly interested throughout the movie s 98 minute running time.

GREG: True enough, Scott. Martin is a confirmed atheist, having rejected the Catholic church. He is a constant contrast to Philomena s steadfast faith. Despite all the nuns did to her and the pain they caused by taking her son from her, she never wavers in the power of her beliefs. There are a couple of missteps in an otherwise fine screenplay. One involves Mare Winningham who gets star credit for a single scene where she plays the grown sister to Philomena s lost son. The scene adds little to the movie and the sister seems to have lost interest in her brother and her Irish roots. It s a bit confusing.

SCOTT: At first, we have trouble taking the character of Philomena very seriously. She initially comes across as na ve and ditsy. But as her story unfolds, we begin to appreciate some hidden heft to her character. She ends up showing more maturity and grace in the face of adversity than we could have imagined. And we see her embodying Christian ideals far better than the Catholic nuns who mistreated her for years. Her hero journey is a delight to watch, and it is captured nicely in Martin s recitation of a T.S. Elliot quote about finally coming home but seeing home in a fresh new way. Martin s hero journey is less settled but no less interesting. He believes that his atheistic perspective gives him greater clarity but the movie suggests that this clarity comes with a price. There is much food for thought about how Martin s life will be changed by this experience.

GREG: Scott, Philomena is a non-traditional buddy story. I was captivated from the start. Dame Judi Dench does not disappoint. She has created a complex character full of life, and whimsy yet still wise. I enjoyed this movie and give it 4 out of 5 Reels. The two-handed hero s journey intertwined these characters and gave those with and without faith an opportunity to look at the world through the other s eyes. I give our heroes 4 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:

SCOTT: Greg, I agree with you that Philomena offers a unique dual-hero journey that compels its audience to think deeply about issues of faith, ethics, family, and conscience. There is a rare wisdom in this movie that moved me and challenged me to re-think my perspectives on religion, secularism, and life in general. Like you, I award this movie 4 out of 5 Reels. But I m going to bump up the hero rating to 5 out of 5. Philomena s hero journey is wonderful to behold. She is no doubt forever changed by her experience and we can see a lovely transformation of understanding, compassion, and wisdom in her character. Juxtaposed with this is the more uncertain hero s journey of Martin, who is affected in profound ways by the journey but one gets the feeling that unlike Philomena, Martin has a lot more processing to do to truly appreciate what has happened to him, and to them both. These two very different hero journeys, and how they are intertwined, impressed me greatly. Hence the full 5 out of 5 hero rating. Movie: Hero:
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