7.6/10
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249 user 345 critic

Philomena (2013)

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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.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

Steve Coogan (screenplay), Jeff Pope (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 78 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Judi Dench ... Philomena
Steve Coogan ... Martin Sixsmith
Sophie Kennedy Clark ... Young Philomena
Mare Winningham ... Mary
Barbara Jefford ... Sister Hildegarde
Ruth McCabe ... Mother Barbara
Peter Hermann ... Pete Olsson
Sean Mahon ... Michael
Anna Maxwell Martin ... Jane
Michelle Fairley ... Sally Mitchell
Wunmi Mosaku ... Young Nun
Amy McAllister ... Sister Anunciata
Charlie Murphy Charlie Murphy ... Kathleen
Cathy Belton ... Sister Claire
Kate Fleetwood ... Young Sister Hildegarde
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The true story of a search for a lost son. See more »

Genres:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Filomena See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,509,726 (United Kingdom), 3 November 2013, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$128,435, 22 November 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$37,707,719, 16 May 2014

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,112,825, 5 May 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film that year to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but not at the Producers Guild of America Awards, or the Critics Choice Movie Awards. See more »

Goofs

Though the film appears to be set in 2004, the red Mazda MX-5 in which Pete Olsen arrives at his house is a third generation model, not launched until 2005. See more »

Quotes

Mary: Stop torturing her!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Film '72: Episode dated 26 February 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Panis Angelicus
Written by Thomas Aquinas (as Saint Thomas Aquinas) and César Franck
Choir Mistress: Mags Shepherd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Much more subtle and interesting than I predicted
1 November 2013 | by johnmcc150See 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.


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