Judi Dench leads this UK drama directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), the true story of a single mother in search for her adult son, separated after a Christian community forced them apart decades ago. Co-starring and co-written by Steve Coogan, adapting the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith.
Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee (Dench) was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a "fallen woman". When her baby was only a toddler, he was whisked away by the nuns to America for adoption. Philomena spent the next 50 years searching for him in vain. Then she met Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), a world-weary BBC journalist as cynical as Philomena was trusting. Together they set off for America, forging a bond themselves, to try and find Philomena's son.
Best Adapted Screenplay, BAFTAs 2014; Best Screenplay, Venice Film Festival 2013
2013Rating: M, Coarse language and mature themes94 minsUK
Weepies can be risky territory. Get them wrong and you've made bad TV, but get them right and the rewards are yours for the taking. All of which makes Philomena a particularly brave move for Steve Coogan. Never the most natural of straight-men, he gives his most dignified performance yet, in a film he co-scripted, co-produced and generally shepherded to the screen.