Rated PG-13 97 minutes 2013

This is one of those movies that would fall apart in less capable hands. But directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, the modest Philomena is a real treat. It’s based on a true story of a woman who reveals a long-held secret: When she was a teenager, she gave her son up for adoption. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) picks up the story and travels with Philomena (Dench) to Washington, D.C., where she hopes to pick up a paper trail on her son. Again, this is pretty simple stuff and most movies along these lines don’t try to do much of anything with it. But Frears is a master—The Queen, The Grifters, Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity—and Judi Dench is Judi Dench. The real surprise is Coogan, the great English comedian who co-wrote the script and tones it down to great effect here.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Stephen Frears

Producer: Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward, Henry Normal, Christine Langan, Cameron McCracken, François Ivernel and Carolyn Blackwood

Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley, Barbara Jefford, Anna Maxwell Martin, Mare Winningham, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Peter Hermann and Ruth McCabe

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