you're reading...
Drama - Family

Philomena (2013)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG-13, most countries 12 or 13
Source of storyA book of the same name by Martin Sixsmith
DirectorStephen Frears
Writers/ScriptSteve Coogan, Jeff Pope
StarringJudi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Barbara Jefford, Peter Hermann, Charlie Murphy, Anna Maxwell Martin
RatingsIMDb: 7.6 by 92,997 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 90% by 198 reviewers

Elevator Pitch: When Martin Sixsmith, a former BBC Moscow correspondent and Labour spin doctor, is looking for a new project he meet Philomena a middle aged lady who as a teenager had had a child in Ireland and had been sent to a religious establishment who employed her and many girls like her in a laundry. Without her agreement her child had been up for adoption. She had spent many years searching for her son, but with Sixsmith’s help, despite being obstructed by the nuns of The Sacred Heart, manages to find him in America. However, it is not all good news.

Content: There is one sexual event, discreetly presented. Sixsmith drinks quite a bit of Guinness. The young Irish girls who have had children are working in the laundry and visiting their children for an hour a day, then we see two of them taken away. Sixsmith and Philomena meet in UK and he takes the job on. They visit the Sacred Heart establishment more than once and go to the local pub. Then travel a lot, planes to America and cars in Washington and around bits of the country. Philomena is uncertain as to whether she wants her story to be out there in the public domain.

A View: The critics loved this, and why not, it is a distressing story well told, Judi Dench always great and Steven Coogan terrific and, I think, usually underrated. I was really impressed that an amateur reviewer on IMDb who had been born in a Sacred Heart home in 1960 and trafficked to America in 1961, thought it was well presented. It was nominated for four Oscars, has an estimated production cost of $12 million and made $100 million at the box  office; we voted with our wallets. So, if you are not already familiar with the story, well worth the cost of a download.

Additional Info: In the final moments of the film Sixsmith is given a speech, which is a dramatic addition to the story, but even so he is probably speaking on behalf of all of us.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



  1. Pingback: The Queen (2006) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - May 3, 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: