Freeview film of the day: Philomena

Steve Coogan and Judi Dench bring a bit of comedy and a bit of heartbreak to this tale of a woman looking for the child she gave up decades before

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Philomena  ★★★★ 

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9.00-10.35pm BBC2

Based on the true story of how Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) spent 50 years seeking her long-lost illegitimate son. She was 17 when she gave birth in an Irish abbey. The nuns there sold her child to an American couple for £1,000. Philomena’s search becomes more urgent when former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) hears of it and offers to help. They reach a dead end in Ireland when they learn that the nuns had conveniently burnt all records of the transaction so they go to America to look for the boy. This is at heart a horrifying tale which, thanks to the two stars and the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Coogan and Jeff Pope, is both very moving and funny. Dench is as immaculate as ever and Coogan is excellent in a straight, dramatic role.


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