7.6/10
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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

Decades later, partly due to the original book, it became apparent just how common stories like Philomena's were in Ireland before, during, and after the 1950s. Revelations about widespread forced adoptions, and abuse of children and unmarried mothers by the Roman Catholic Church and other religious organizations, have given this film a much darker undercurrent than originally intended. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Philomena: Remember Martin, it isn't their fault. They didn't know Anthony had a different name.
Martin Sixsmith: One of them did.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in 71st Golden Globe Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne In F-Sharp, Op. 15, No. 2
(uncredited)
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This Year's King's Speech
11 September 2013 | by RolyRolySee all my reviews

As several critics have observed, this wonderful film, just shown at TIFF, is destined to become this year's King's Speech (which began its Oscar run in Toronto too, though Philomena has already picked up accolades in Venice). Both British films have strongly emotional undercurrents leavened by wry humour, feature outstanding performances from the leads and are based on true stories.

Judi Dench, as the Irish woman whose out-of-wedlock son is taken from her by Catholic nuns and sold to a rich American couple in the 1950's, has never been better. She imbues the role with a mix of wisdom (after all, as she reminds us repeatedly, she was nurse for 30 years) and naiveté that would seem to be impossible were it not so deftly handled. While the cynical atheist portrayed by Steve Coogan rarely misses an opportunity to poke fun at her, more often than not she enjoys the last laugh.

Despite the consummate acting, and Frears' slick directing, the greatest treat of the film is Steve Coogan's screenplay. Given its subject matter, the story could easily have veered into melodrama, but just when it is on the verge of doing so Coogan pulls us back from the edge. Thankfully, Coogan himself is there to convey precisely the proper blend of sarcasm and compassion.


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