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Philomena (2013)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 27 November 2013 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer

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A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,641 ( 426)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 31 wins & 75 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth McCabe ...
Young Nun
Amy McAllister ...
Sister Claire
Young Sister Hildegarde


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. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Filomena  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$128,435 (USA) (22 November 2013)


$37,707,719 (USA) (16 May 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Barbara Jefford is Judi Dench's long-time costar in William Shakespeare plays on stage and screen. See more »


When Martin wants to show a photo to Philomena, he zooms on Michael Hess and people around him in a way that the journalists are not visible on the screen. But then Philomena finds Martin among the journalists on the screen. See more »


Martin Sixsmith: I don't believe in God, and I think He knows.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Real footage of Anthony/Michael is shown at the ending credits See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Mother of God Here I Stand
Composed by John Tavener and Mikhail Lermontov
Published by Chester Music Ltd.
By kind permission of Music Sales Creative
Performed by The Tiffin Boys' Choir
Choir Director: Simon Toyne
See more »

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User Reviews

Much more subtle and interesting than I predicted
1 November 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The film starts with the message that it is based on true events. Although you might wonder what was changed for the film, you soon forget that and accept it as a whole. In short it was brilliant. It could have been a predictable story but instead it had other dimensions and took unexpected directions with strong characters and some humour. I thought I knew an outline beforehand and was pleasantly surprised when that part was covered in the first twenty minutes. It was intriguing where the story would take us and that happened a few more times later. In addition to Philomena's journey, there was also Martin Sixsmith's journey from the beginning as just a detached journalist doing a human interest story on someone, whom he thought was beneath him, to being totally involved and offering not to publish it. To illustrate the depths of this film you can see how it attacks cruel, narrow-minded, sanctimonious Catholicism and at the same time shows how the faith gave strength to Philomena and the ability to forgive rather than to wreak vengeance. The acting was totally convincing. It is going to be a competitive year but Judy must be up for another Oscar. Just watching Steve Coogan's almost imperceptible expressions of irritation as Philomena told him the interminable plot of the book she had just been reading, was wonderful. This is definitely the best film I have seen all year. After writing this I read the interview with Martin Sixsmith on the Guardian web-site. It fills in more detail about Michael Hess (Anthony Lee) but confirms the whole truth of the story.

57 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The Ending Makes No Sense fawkes-107-392142
If Michael Hess was told that his birth mother abandoned him... kolnoaMograbi
'whilst' goof lorgurus
Anthony was in a committed relationship... but died of AIDS? bebesushii
What happened to the father? laurly
Celtic Harp want2bsun
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