User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 178 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 178
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  1. Dec 8, 2013
    6
    While I found the story interesting, I found the persistent focus on comedic patter to be annoying. I'm all for lightening a serious subject from time to time, but the lead male actor plays his role as if he's on Monty Python, with so much self reflective irony that his character ends up buffoonish. Dench is also given a character to play that the real Philomena has criticized for makingWhile I found the story interesting, I found the persistent focus on comedic patter to be annoying. I'm all for lightening a serious subject from time to time, but the lead male actor plays his role as if he's on Monty Python, with so much self reflective irony that his character ends up buffoonish. Dench is also given a character to play that the real Philomena has criticized for making her look like a "silly billy." She seems concrete and dense and rather vacuous. This story deserves better. Expand
  2. Jan 20, 2014
    5
    A lackluster film that had no energy or drive. I thought I was watching something that went straight to cable not an Oscar nominated film. No body seemed to have their heart in this one. Dench looked liked she was sleep walking through the film and for some instinctive reason I knew her son would turn out to be one of two things. I was right. I have seen a lot of films about the CatholicA lackluster film that had no energy or drive. I thought I was watching something that went straight to cable not an Oscar nominated film. No body seemed to have their heart in this one. Dench looked liked she was sleep walking through the film and for some instinctive reason I knew her son would turn out to be one of two things. I was right. I have seen a lot of films about the Catholic Church and the evil it has done in Ireland that are so much better that again, I kept wondering why this film was so lame. Of course, I keep wondering why anyone remains in the Catholic Church. Collapse
  3. Jun 30, 2014
    5
    While the real story behind it was incredibly interesting and sad, The way it was portrayed as a comedy and not a serious drama (as it should have been) made things rather distasteful. Certainly not a bad film but features far too many needless jokes for the serious and real subject it's based on.
  4. Lyn
    Jan 19, 2014
    5
    Judi Dench is excellent as always. Can't recall a recent film of hers in which she played a more huggable character (and yet, with a little edge). My main problem with the film was that it felt very much like a Lifetime movie ... you know, with one of the Golden Girls playing the older Irish lady and some sitcom guy playing the jaded ex-journalist. I understand that the anti-CatholicJudi Dench is excellent as always. Can't recall a recent film of hers in which she played a more huggable character (and yet, with a little edge). My main problem with the film was that it felt very much like a Lifetime movie ... you know, with one of the Golden Girls playing the older Irish lady and some sitcom guy playing the jaded ex-journalist. I understand that the anti-Catholic vitriol was very much amped up for the film as well, which bothers me (although I'm not Catholic). A good one to rent later and enjoy Dench's performance. Expand
  5. Feb 22, 2014
    5
    For a subject as powerful as what the film Philomena tackles, the result stirs little emotion. And even though I cannot fathom why it made the list of the best 9 films this year according the US film academy, it is still good enough to be the type of film to watch on TV on a leisurely Sunday afternoon whilst digesting the roast I had for lunch.
  6. Apr 20, 2015
    6
    Beautiful little film with an obviously brilliant leading actress, although she does not shine as much in this role. The story is kind of good and warm. But I couldn´t get pass of some very old fashioned cliches and a few comments about the main character´s son. It was even a little bit insulting as in some bad stereotype of gay people. Apart from that it is quite emotional without overBeautiful little film with an obviously brilliant leading actress, although she does not shine as much in this role. The story is kind of good and warm. But I couldn´t get pass of some very old fashioned cliches and a few comments about the main character´s son. It was even a little bit insulting as in some bad stereotype of gay people. Apart from that it is quite emotional without over doing it. A nice film. Expand
  7. Dec 4, 2013
    6
    What first seems like a charming flick in the vain of DRIVING MISS DAISY, Stephen Frears's PHILOMENA trades conventions in for depth. Wonderfully penned by Steve Coogan, the film is anchored by a beautifully subtle performance from Judi Dench. This may just be her best film work since NOTES FROM A SCANDAL. PHILOMENA taks so many turns it could only be true.
  8. Jan 22, 2015
    6
    Feels terribly oscar-bait-y. But it has 2 strong attributes. The singular blend of humour and melancholy in Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope's screenplay keeps Philomena entertaining heartfelt all the way, even when it goes over the rails from time to time. And Judi Dench, remarkable as always, carries the film to the finish line on her shoulders with room for more.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 27, 2013
    88
    The Catholic Church does not come off well in Philomena, but then, what else is new? And the film isn't so much an indictment of institutional unkindness as it is a story of resilience, resolution - and human kindness.
  2. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Nov 27, 2013
    67
    For the viewer, however, solving this mystery is not nearly as engrossing as watching the actors’ pas de deux.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 27, 2013
    88
    Philomena is a tearjerker of rare honesty and craft.