United Kingdom, 2013, 98 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Family Friendly, Political, Womens Issues
Program: Special Presentation
Language: English

Based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, this film focuses on a human-interest story by ex-BBC reporter Martin Sixsmith, who was looking to get back into the good graces of his former employer.

Embracing the cause of the title character (Judi Dench), Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) launches an investigation into the barbarous practices of the Catholic Church in the 1950s, when it quarantined pregnant girls in workhouses and punished them for their promiscuity by selling their out-of-wedlock children into overseas adoption. Church doctrine dictated that the girls sign away all rights to their children and forced them to agree never to try to look for them. But Philomena, even after moving on with her life and starting her own family, searched in vain for her son for years. When Sixsmith offers his help, the unlikely duo embarks on a journey that takes them to the United States before returning them to the church’s doorstep in a howl of clerical outrage. The subtext of the odd couple’s collaboration is one of the film’s most compelling elements. When Sixsmith bridles at the constraints of what at first appears to be anything but a hard-hitting story, the nattering Philomena is roused to the dignity of a woman wronged by an institution that claimed, and still claims, the cloak of righteousness.

Philomena was directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), who captured the grainy look of an earlier era in Super-16 flashbacks to Philomena’s life in the 1950s.

For information on group rates and community partnerships, please contact Karla Rodriguez at

DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears
Producer: Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward, Gabrielle Tana
Editor: Valerio Bonelli
Screenwriter: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
Cinematographer: Robbie Ryan
Principal Cast: Judi Dench, Michelle Fairley, Steve Coogan, Mare Winningham, Anna Maxwell Martin

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