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Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 4 out of 162

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  1. Nov 22, 2013
    Whilst '12 Years a Slave' and 'The Butler' are banging the drum for the civil rights movement in America, another less talked about atrocity that took place in Ireland is broached in Philomena, namely the dreadful practise of catholic nuns selling the children of young unwed mothers. These 'fallen women' were forced into convents which were run like work houses in order for them 'to cleanse their sins'. Many were in their early teens and most never saw their children again after adoption. This film concerns the search by one such mother,Philomena, who along with a journalist sets out to find the son she hasn't seen in nearly 50 years.
    Judi Dench plays the title character and her performance is a class act. She gives an effortlessly briliiant and believable portrayal of this tortured, but hopeful woman. She is an actress to whom her art just seems to come naturally and she is again at the top of her game. Steve Coogan is also very good as the journalist and he can take another bow for co-authoring the richly textured screenplay. Whilst the writing tackles serious issues it still manages to tap into some wonderful humour in the midst of this desperately sad situation. The film, though, is certainly never mawkish, but it is at times genuinely affecting. In fact, the only thing that comes out bad here is the light shining on the Catholic Church.
  2. Dec 19, 2013
    “Philomena” is the fillm directed by Stephen Frears based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” written by Martin Sixsmith, Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan. Mr. Coogan also stars in the film with Dame Judi Dench. This is a movie I did not see when it first came into distribution since I had the misguided impression that it would be depressing and without spirit. Quite the contrary, this is a detective story, a story of faith and a story of perseverance as a mother spends most of her life trying to find the child taken from her and her forced servitude at the “mercy” of the nuns in the convent in which her child was born. Enough cannot be said about the performances of Mr. Coogan and of Ms. Dench as they dominate and capture this film and its true story. I give this film a 9 rating and suggest that it not be missed or the reader will risk missing a truly wonderful film. Expand
  3. Jan 7, 2014
    Judy Dench and Steve Coogan play off each other well in this under the radar film. The catholic church once again does not look good in a film, although the atrocities took place 60 years ago in 1950s Ireland. Apparently nuns would take young parent-less women into their convent who had babies out of wedlock and eventually sell their babies to wealthy Americans (true story believe it or not). The story is about one mother who decided to search for her son that was taken away from her 50 years earlier. She accepts the help of an author who hears about the story from the woman's daughter. They have an adventure together, going to America to find the son. There is a surprising amount of humor in addition to the heartbreak. Very well acted and written and easily one of the best films of the year. Expand
  4. Jan 8, 2014
    This exceptional film is lifted from excellence to perfection by the note perfect work of Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It is as much about forgiveness as it is about cruelty, but it is not sentimental. The real Philomena is apparently a woman who has humor and enthusiasm and refuses to feel sorry for herself. These qualities, perfectly caught by Dench, makes the movie buoyant.
  5. Dec 1, 2013
    Philomena is a heart wrenching story based on truth and the brilliant acting throughout makes it a compelling watch. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan both give incredible performances as do all the characters, from the young Philomena (Sophie Kennedy Clark) to her son Anthony/Michael (the handsome Sean Mahon). If there is one movie you see this Christmas that does a great job at telling an extraordinary story, it's Philomena. Expand
  6. Dec 27, 2013
    This is a delightful little movie. Judi Dench is terrific (as usual) and her performance may be Oscar-worthy. The movie made me feel something emotionally which is what I seek.
  7. Mar 22, 2014
    Philonema is a wonderful story . but i am sad that her son died . it was kinda heartbreaking as well . but it is the most saddest movies i have ever seen . philonema is a hero and i hope she will save children .
    Grade A
    grade for philonema A+
  8. Dec 8, 2013
    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 making her look like a "silly billy." She seems concrete and dense and rather vacuous. This story deserves better. Expand
  9. Lyn
    Jan 19, 2014
    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-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
  10. Feb 22, 2014
    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.
  11. Jan 20, 2014
    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 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
  12. Nov 28, 2013
    Judi Dench plays the slightly spunky and entirely endearing title character: a women who searches for the son she lost to adoption when she was a teen. Steve Coogan tamps down his comic side, as the career-challenged journalist who helps her on her quest. It sounds like one of those dramas that could deteriorate into sentimentality, but under the assured direction of Stephen Frears it maintains integrity and heart. This true tale has enough turns to keep it interesting and Dench creates a character whose quiet demeanor reveals an appealing and confident woman. The narrative takes a little time to develop momentum, but by the end you'll be captivated by this sweet character and her engaging story. Expand
  13. Mar 9, 2014
    'Philomena' is a wonderful film. I am very rarely moved to tears by a film, but this one broke my heart. What an amazing story! Judi Dench is phenomenal as usual.
  14. May 9, 2014
    Stephen Frears’ most recent project PHILOMENA is nominated for four Oscars including BEST PICTURE and BEST LEADING ACTRESS for Dame Judi Dench (her 7th nomination, only if she could have been active on big screen from the outset of her career, she would give Meryl Streep a good run for her money of her 18 acting nominations record, now the task falls upon her fellow thespians Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett, both garner 6 so far).

    read rest of the review on my blog, google cinema omnivore.
  15. Jun 30, 2014
    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.
  16. Dec 17, 2013
    Went to see American Hustle which was sold out and saw this instead. Most of our opinions about films are measured by our expectations, and since i had none entering this film, i was very pleasantly surprised by the richness of the writing and character development and the depth of the story. if you are Irish, or Roman catholic, or both, this film will resonate with you. The male v female roles are well worn but well played here, and the Judy Dench character stays true to form, and the male character, so initially smug and self-assured, comes to learn something from the "less intelligent, religious, faith-based" character that reminded me of the great comedies of the 40's and 50's (e.g., Hepburn & Tracey; Grant & Hepburn, etc) except here there is no romance, just life and character. This is a very good couples film for mature audiences. Expand
  17. Sep 2, 2014
    Not your average old-lady flick. One of the most passionate stories of the year--proven vividly by another top notch Judi Dench performance and a curious portrayal from Steve Coogan, who also penned the screenplay.
  18. Dec 30, 2013
    Se la ricetta semplice, contano gli ingredienti. La storia vera di Philomena Lee potrebbe essere perfetta per un settimanale scandalistico (come subito intuisce la cinica Sally) o per un filmone strappalacrime che colpisca basso. Giovane ragazza madre durante gli anni Cinquanta in un’Irlanda bigotta oltre ogni dire, Philomena paga un giorno di gioia alla fiera venendo rinchiusa in un convitto di suore dove prima costretta a partorire con dolore (figlio podalico e niente anestetico) e poi a vedersi portare via il piccolo Anthony, dato in adozione negli Stati Uniti. Cinquant’anni dopo, la sua strada si incrocia con quella di Martin Sixsmith, giornalista politico rimasto senza lavoro, che si interessa a lei sperando di ricavarne una storia da cui ripartire, ma che ben presto si lascia coinvolgere aiutando la donna nella ricerca del figlio perduto. Ricerca che riserverà piccole gioie e grandi delusioni, oltre a una bella arrabbiatura che scuote Martin al confronto di una pacificata Philomena. Pronti i fazzoletti? Neanche per idea: Stephen Frears tiene con sicurezza le redini alternando il dramma a delicati tocchi di commedia che scaturiscono dall’incontro fra due persone diversissime il laureato a ‘Oxbridge’ che ha girato il mondo e la donna del popolo, infermiera per una vita, che si entusiasma per i romanzi rosa e le banalità da piccolo schermo lavorando su una sceneggiatura di Steve Coogan e Jeff Pope, tratta dal libro del vero Sixsmith, tanto efficace da venir premiata a Venezia e costellata di battute da ricordare (tra le più belle dell’anno quella sul suonare l’arpa e i gay, forse non correttissima, ma va ricordato che si tratta di una madre che parla del proprio figlio). Del resto, Coogan, attore e autore comico per la televisione britannica, ha preso talmente a cuore il progetto da esserne anche produttore e interprete: il suo ruolo, però, non può e non vuole essere che quello del comprimario, perché al di là dei meriti di tutti quanti, il vero pilastro su cui il film si regge l’interpretazione di Judi Dench. La sua Philomena una donna addolorata ma forte che, quando riesce infine a dare una risposta agli interrogativi della sua vita, trova l’energia per chiudere i conti con il passato e guardare avanti. Nei momenti più intensi, Frears stringe il primo piano e la signora, incurante delle rughe, sa restituire un’emozione (o un mondo di emozioni) con la profondità dello sguardo per poi regalare altrettanta classe a un duetto brillante con Coogan nei momenti più leggeri. I due personaggi principali sono il fulcro della narrazione, il che spinge inevitabilmente gli altri sullo sfondo con la sola eccezione di Sophie Kennedy Clark che interpreta la giovane Philomena: discorso ben diverso, invece, per quanto riguarda una natura che si erge quasi a co-protagonista. Tutta la pellicola si svolge tra l’autunno e l’inverno, ma mentre c’è il gelo nelle immagini che narrano l’adolescenza reclusa di una ragazza sottoposta a regole che, pur solo a pochi decenni di distanza, ci paiono impossibili, sono le più calde tonalità autunnali ad accompagnare gran parte dell’azione nel presente: si passa così dai paesaggi ancora verdeggianti di un’Irlanda umida ma fascinosa al coloratissimo foliage che fa da sfondo alla trasferta negli Stati Uniti raggiungendo il massimo del suo splendore durante la decisiva visita a Pete Olsson. E’ qui che, dopo aver vinto le resistenze dell’uomo, il cerchio si chiude con lo svelarsi di un’ulteriore cattiveria che tira in ballo ancora una volta le colpe della chiesa cattolica in Irlanda, la cui spietatezza controriformistica ha raggiunto livelli abnormi anche a confronto di un Paese cattolicissimo come il nostro. Da quando ‘Magdalene’ ha squarciato il silenzio, si saputo di tutto e ‘Philomena’ aggiunge un altro mattone: a parte qualche lodevole eccezione, come la levatrice suor Anunciata, il sistema (incarnato da suor Hildegard) era strutturato per ottundere e reprimere perché il peccato va espiato nel dolore (una delle prime battute) e il piacere altrui non ammesso (una delle ultime). Expand
  19. Apr 15, 2014
    The movie was adapted from a book called 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' which was based on the true story of an Irish woman. The movie chronicles the story of Philomena's quest in search of her long lost son which travels all the way across the ocean to different countries. And again this incredible story ended in the hands of a great director. The director Stephen Fears just put some magic spell on the story and it became a soulful movie with the fine support from his cast and crew.

    The movie was just like I wanted. From each level of the story, it surprised with the beautiful turning points. It was a single movie, but I felt I saw part by part, chapter after another with detailed information. 'Philomena' is phenomenal movie of the year. The depth of emotions can be felt through our heart, very touching story. An inspiring movie for other mothers who are still looking for their lost children. One should never lose his 'hope', it can be used as a powerful weapon to discover what had you lost.

    I had seen plenty of nature documentaries about a mother and love towards her kids. It might be a polar bear from Arctic or a penguin from Antarctic they all fight for their little ones and ready to give her own life when it matters. In this movie Philomena's (Judi Dench) child was taken away from her under some tough circumstances. She kept it secret in her sealed lip but never stopped to look for him. She waited for 50 year-long, finally with the help of a former BBC journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), she succeeds to follow the tracks. Whether the mother and son unite or not is the movie's end.

    As far I know the best ever performance by Steve Coogan. This movie definitely will boost his confidence for his future project and also will help his professional graph go upwards. Never doubted the James Bond lady (M), Judi Dench as Philomena. Her experience came to very useful to shape up this movie well. Never could have been this much exciting the movie without these two along with the director. Hope they all join hands together for another project in the near future.

  20. Apr 20, 2014
    Film's religious motifs far outweighed Philomena's subdued, egalitarian character; which was embodied in the last 10 minutes.
  21. Apr 13, 2014
    A film like Philomena comes along all too infrequently. That wonderful hybrid of quality drama, subtle, well-balanced acting and a sprinkling of welcome humor. Not to mention it all hung together around a meaningful and interesting subject matter.
    Based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman who became pregnant as a teenager and had her child taken away from her by the
    Catholic Church and sold for adoption it truly is not just a fine piece of work from a idiosyncratic director but an example to all about how to make dramatic cinema. Its also a a high watermark in terms of its tear jerkiness. very seldom do you see a sentimental film full of appropriate humor and a lack of tacked on manipulated mawkishness. Take note War Horse, Les Mis, The Impossible and company.
    I have never been a huge fan of Dench but here she gives the performance of a lifetime(wrinkles have never looked so engaging) backed up wonderfully by Coogan who is mildly eccentric and tempered but deeply moved all at the same time. My only concern would be the glaring convenience that pops up half way through but Frears keeps things so tightly wound that you feel completely tolerant of it straight away.
    The movie has received some rare bashings by some critics who argue its intentions regarding its take on the Catholic religion. I say what goes around comes around and this deserves to be seen by everyone with a keen interest in, well, human interest stories.
  22. Sep 14, 2014
    Philomena is a brilliant movie! It could have been depressing, sad, tragic or heavy handed. Instead, it is filled with wry humor, vividly portrayed characters, and a story that exposes deep social problems with some compassion and a sense of optimism. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan gave wonderful performances, and even the minor characters were totally believable, complex human beings. If you missed seeing this, rent it!! Expand
  23. Dec 8, 2013
    As for the supporting cast members in Philomena, they’re very much side dressing to Coogan and Dench’s performances as the main course. Nevertheless, people like Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones), Barbara Jefford (The Ninth Gate) and Peter Hermann (Our Idiot Brother) still manage to get a respectable amount of emotional mileage out of their few scenes. Ultimately, though, Dench and Coogan are the beating heart of Frears’ cinematic social/political commentary, as their work together is enough to accommodate many of the flaws in storytelling making Philomena a heart-churning and enjoyable moviegoing experience, as a whole. Expand
  24. Apr 23, 2014
    Excellent move serving as a showcase for the marvelous talents of Judi Dench. It is difficult to dislike a Judi Dench movie, especially now that she has become the very mold for a great actress.
  25. Dec 1, 2013
    This is one of the most sobering, funny and adult movies we've seen in many a season. As parents of a young child ourselves, my wife and I (both writers) were moved by the story of the out of work London political journalist who becomes intrigued by the story of an aging Irish mother looking for her long-lost child...given up for adoption? sold to the highest bidder? It's all based on a true story, which makes the conclusion that much more heart-rending. The story reminded me of a parallel reality in which for decades, Israeli doctors and hospitals acquired babies and young children by the most nefarious means to provide to wealthy American Jewish families who couldn't produce children of their own. While this film is often dark, there is plenty of levity as well, and we both left the theatre thought-provoked, entertained and satisfied at an hour and a half well-spent. Indeed, when I got home I wanted to Tweet Steve Coogan, whom I had only known as a comedic actor, to congratulate him on his choice of role and his work as the film's producer (turns out while he has an account, Coogan is not yet active). Kudos are due to director Stephen Frears, who has long been in the small coterie of my favorite indie filmmakers, especially since his films "The Hit," "My Beautiful Laundrette" and "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid." Expand
  26. Mar 5, 2014
    Easily one of the best. "Philomena" is a wave of emotions directly into the viewer's heart, having one of the best performances I have ever seen and one of the most effecting, touching stories ever made. Although I would like if more of Philomena's life was discussed, although this aspect does not harm any of the aspects of the film. Wonderful cinematography, lovable actors and touching characters. Philomena is slightly one of the greatest of all time. Expand
  27. Aug 20, 2014
    It's beautiful..!!
    In the starting half hour i was thinking that this movie might come out as a old Bollywood kind of stuff but after that it just started moving up and up and up and ended with the infinite beauty..!!
    It's really a very beautiful movie and captured different emotions in a very wonderful way.. ..!!
  28. Feb 27, 2014
    Philomena, a darker movie than what I expected, exceeded my expectations. What seemed like a light and fluffy comedy-drama from my perception of it turned out to be dramatic, deep, engaging story. The bursts of comedy mixed with the great chemistry between the two leads overpowers the few moments of slight implausibility in the movie.
  29. Dec 4, 2013
    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.
  30. Jan 4, 2014
    Philomena is excellently crafted in terms of the audience being able to bond with Philomena (Judi Dench) and all supporting cast. However, it seems a bit deliberate in the plot-holes it has, especially towards the Catholics and Republicans, making Philomena appear to be only one side of the coin. But said coin, is extremely shiny.
  31. May 28, 2014
    This is one of my personal favorite movies of 2013. A sweet story with an amazing performance by Dench and great script, that may get mad some people because is honest on what the religious hypocrisy is all about, maybe it needs more honesty (yes, more) and more Dench, still I love the movie. A good movie with a great lesson to all the hypocrites out there.
  32. Dec 27, 2013
    First of all, basing this movie off of a true story made the movie have a sense of realism, offering you a moving, yet tragic story. It was a very inspiring tale about a woman who's deep belief in faith allowed her to overcome strenuous obstacles. Judie Dench did it again with an astounding performance. Unfortunately, the film was slow moving at times but nonetheless a phenomenal movie. I highly recommend it. Expand
  33. Jan 2, 2014
    After a series of unfortunate missteps ("Lay The Favorite", "Chéri", "Tamara Drewe",...) it's good to see Stephen Frears back in shape....PHILOMENA is by far his strongest film since 2006 "The Queen", furthermore it re-unites him with his "Mrs Henderson Presents" star Judi Dench, she co-stars here with British comedian Steve Coogan in a more seldom straight dramatic role (Coogan is also credited as co-writer as well as one of the producers of the film). It's based on a similarly-themed Peter Mullan directed film which won the Golden Lion in Venice back in 2002 "The Magdalene Sisters", but the tone here is much lighter,...basically Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope adapted the 2003 memoir from real-life journalist Martin Sixsmith (played by Coogan himself in the film) in which he tells how he helped an elderly Irish woman, Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), track down the son she was forced to give up 50 years earlier when sent to a Catholic convent as a pregnant teenager...
    PHILOMENA is a touching comedy-drama with just the right mix of laughter and tears...aided by an inspired odd-couple of terrific actors in Dame Judi and Steve Coogan,... and with a push from warm reviews and eventual nominations, it may well have a serious shot at a nice run well beyond the British Isles in various upscale markets around the world...
  34. Jan 17, 2014
    This movie is fantastic, Judi Dench, and Steve Coogan are great, this movie has a perfect combination of humor, and drama, and it can make you cry. This is one of the year's best.
  35. Feb 23, 2014
    A brilliant performance by Judi Dench as is usual for her and a great but tragic story. A movie that will leave you feeling light hearted. A wonderful experience for anyone who just wants to watch a movie with a touching story and leave the movie feeling happy.
  36. Jan 31, 2014
    such a sublime film in which Stephen Frears has found the perfect tone to narrate with his customary subtlety the story of an encounter and of a double quest. That of a mother but also that of a journalist whose pseudo certainties are shattered, which, paradoxically enough, makes him stronger by giving him (back) the capacity to be moved by another human being. Judi Dench depicts in a breathtaking way all the complexity and the density of the emotions and thoughts of this luminous Philomena. She achieves this with the grace and the delicacy which are part and parcel of her acting skills and with this extraordinary capacity she possesses to embody the beauty, the frailty and the strength of the human soul. Expand
  37. Feb 10, 2014
    This is an excellent movie, well constructed and interesting. It's not action-packed but it's not meant to be. Judy Dench is, as usual, terrific and Steve Coogan is a perfect foil for her. Their synergy on screen is mesmerizing. Never for one second did I think "that's Judy Dench pretending to be Irish", her performance was impeccable.If you're looking for fast-paced action with lots of twists and turns, this is not the movie for you, but if you want a heartfelt, warm, human story, then don't miss this. Expand
  38. Mar 3, 2014
    I don't really understand some of the reviews I'm reading about this. As far as I'm concerned, the balance between its humour and emotion was pitched almost perfectly. It's certainly thought-provoking if anything. Dench is superb and I hope she gets a few nods for this performance. A few niggles as with any film, mostly its pacing, but overall, a very pleasant watch.
  39. Mar 13, 2014
    A good movie based on true events which I prefer. Good acting and scenery from Ireland. Unfortunately it re-tells cruel events taking place in convents that cause hardships for good remorseful people. Tragic but reality.
  40. Jul 25, 2014
    Philomena es una película que tiene una excelente y adecuada banda sonora para la película, además de su bien hecha historia y su interesante trama.
  41. May 30, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Philomena is a disturbing film the right way. Judi Dench is perfect. Take position is difficult. Forgiveness, anger, sadness, joy. We don't know what to choose and this is what makes this film so special. Expand
  42. May 2, 2014
    It's the singular blend of comedy and emotion in Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope's screenplay that makes Philomena an entertaining and heartfelt story. And Dench, remarkable as always, really carries the film to the finish line making it one of the "must-see" films of 2013.
  43. Jun 3, 2014
    Journey into the incredible story of Philomena Lee in this heartwarming and truly remarkable film. In my opinion, this is by far one of the best film nominated for an Oscar during the 86th Academy Awards. The movie centers on an ex-BBC political journalist, who was recently unemployed and plans to move ahead, and finds the story of Philomena Lee, who is searching for her long lost son, who had been taken from her decades ago, when she became pregnant and was forced into a convent. Together they uncover clues about her son. Judi Dench, as Philomena and Steve Coogan, as Sixsmith the political journalist truly makes the perfect duo for this film, both presenting their characters in a form which truly blew the audience's mind away. The director, Stephen Frears has created another beautiful and thought provoking film. Expand
  44. Jun 30, 2014
    Though it is not a perfectly made movie, Judi Dench is scintillatingly brilliant, and she and Steve Coogan are perfect foils for each other. I went into it expecting a moving, heart-warming drama - which it is - but was completely surprised by how very funny it is as well. The story is powerful, the scenery is beautiful, the acting is moving, and the pacing clips right along. Don't hesitate to rent this little gem. Expand
  45. Sep 20, 2014
    Philomena is a triumph in storytelling and laudable film warranting all nominations garnered this year.

    An elderly Irishwoman, Philomena, is taken on a journey on a search to find the lost son she was forced to give up for adoption as a teen by a journalist on the decline in search of a story. The injustice of lost years, guilt, sin, and manipulation angers viewers as they follow
    Philomena and Martin along the journey.

    Judi Dench proves again she is worthy of the Academy Award for best actress. She is truly deserving of a win though I do not believe she will be victorious over the more blaring and conspicuous performances from the other actresses nominated this year. She is sweet as the titled Philomena with a constant undercurrent of sadness with a nuanced portrayal of a slight nature arguably caused by the emotional turmoil of experiencing her son being purloined as a teen.

    I am equally glad they recognized and nominated Alexandre Desplat for his original score for the film. It is understated and complementary; adding to the tone of the scenes instead of doing what most music does in films – forcing emotion that isn’t created organically.

    All in all, it is a compelling and attention keeping story with a clear direction and purpose. Philomena is a triumph in storytelling and laudable film warranting all nominations garnered this year.

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
    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
    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
    Philomena is a tearjerker of rare honesty and craft.