Stephen Frears (2013)

12 Certificate
Tomorrow 11:35pm - 1:10am BBC One (not Wales, Northern Ireland)
See Repeats
Saturday, 12:05am - 1:35am BBC One Northern Ireland
Saturday, 12:10am - 1:45am BBC One Wales


Our Score
Judi Dench is on sparkling form as the Irishwoman of the title, whose child was snatched away by nuns at a time when giving birth out of wedlock was treated as a criminal act. Decades later, journalist Martin Sixsmith represents her only hope of finding her son (the film is based on his 2009 book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee). Steve Coogan is suitably irascible as the former BBC correspondent, just publicly fired from his second career as a Labour government adviser, initially turning his nose up at the idea of pursuing a "human interest story". But Philomena, brimming with religious faith and optimism, is such a force of nature that he can't help but be swayed. Director Stephen Frears exploits the odd-couple dynamic to great effect, not only generating wonderful comic moments but also bringing home the tragedy of Philomena's life. He might have given their journey to America a little more cinematic sweep, but it's no less inspiring for that. You'll laugh and you'll cry, sometimes both at the same time.


A teenager in 1950s Ireland becomes pregnant, and is sent to a home for `fallen women', while her baby is forcibly taken from her and sent to America to be adopted. Fifty years later, she meets a disillusioned political journalist who attempts to reunite her with her son. Fact-based drama, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Cast & Crew

Philomena Lee Judi Dench
Martin Sixsmith Steve Coogan
Young Philomena Sophie Kennedy Clark
Mary Mare Winningham
Sister Hildegarde Barbara Jefford
Mother Barbara Ruth McCabe
Pete Olsson Peter Hermann
Michael Sean Mahon
Director Stephen Frears
see more

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: patheGuidance: SwearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 1 Nov 2013