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 & 81 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Judi Dench ... Philomena Lee
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 ... Kathleen
Cathy Belton ... Sister Claire
Kate Fleetwood ... Young Sister Hildegarde
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Storyline

When former journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) 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 Lee (Dame Judi Dench), 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


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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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Philomena Lee (Dame Judi Dench) is asking Mary (Mare Winningham) if Michael (Sean Mahon) ever talked about Ireland, she comments "no, not really" . In the book it is stated that Michael and Mary return to Ireland and talk to the nuns about finding his mother. See more »

Goofs

The church in the end scene is obviously in England. Even if a church of this appearance existed in Ireland it would not be in Catholic ownership as all pre-reformation churches were given to the Anglicans. They should have found a credible church while filming in Ireland. See more »

Quotes

Martin Sixsmith: The Catholic Church should go to confession, not you!
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Panis Angelicus
Written by Thomas Aquinas (as Saint Thomas Aquinas) and César Franck
Choir Mistress: Mags Shepherd
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User Reviews

 
Bang-on, superb work from all involved
5 November 2013 | by mari_teeSee all my reviews

Having lived the mother-baby home experience in Ireland (born at another of the Sacred Heart homes, Bessboro, in Cork in 1960, and trafficked to the US in 1961) and working as an advocate for the rights of adopted people and survivors of Irish Magdalene Laundries for more than twenty years, I'm always prepared to be either underwhelmed or angry at the film industry's ineptitude with subjects like this, I have to say I have not been as pleasantly surprised since Mike Leigh's excellent 'Secrets and Lies' and Peter Mullan's superb 'The Magdalene Sisters'. Frears, Coogan, Dench et al give Philomena's very true story such punch, truth and pathos, a heady accomplishment given the subject matter.

I look forward to the film's US release and urge my fellow 'Banished Babies' to see it, although I recommend going with support as it's very triggering. Let's hope Philomena's strength and tenacity, so powerfully portrayed by Dame Judy, coax more mothers living in shame and denial to reach out to their lost children before it's too late.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

UK | USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Philomena See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$128,435, 24 November 2013

Gross USA:

$37,709,979

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,129,872
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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