PhilomenaDirector: Stephen Frears
United Kingdom, USA, France | English
Based on real events, this bittersweet drama tells the story of one mother’s search for her lost son. Philomena Lee, herself motherless, came of age in an Ireland that scorned females who had sex outside of marriage. Knowing nothing of the facts of life, she was seduced and impregnated by a handsome stranger. Her family disowned her, dispatching her to a convent, which housed “fallen' women in return for three years of their hard labor. The nuns also forced the vulnerable young women in their care to give their children up for adoption. Philomena’s baby was whisked off to America. She spent the next 50 years searching for him in vain.
After 50 years of keeping her secret to herself, Philomena (Judi Dench) reveals it to her adult daughter. Her daughter shares her story with Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a former BBC journalist. Sixsmith is on the lookout for “human interest' stories. And with Philomena, he hits the human interest jackpot. When the cynical journalist and the woman of faith set off for America, they ultimately uncover the extraordinary fate of Philomena’s son, but in the meantime, a powerful bond grows between them.
Blessed with a witty and poignant screenplay and an outstanding cast, director Stephen Frears (The Queen) crafts one of his best films. It is indicative of the film’s broad appeal that it won awards from the Union of Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists as well as the World Catholic Association for Communication during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.