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Philomena [Blu-ray] (2013)

Judi Dench , Steve Coogan  |  PG-13 |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,460 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,460 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GSBNFP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,277 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) was sent to the convent to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
308 of 320 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Sometimes a film will surprise you by just how unexpectedly good it is. Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Liam, My Beautiful Launderette), with a screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, Philomena is one of those films. An extraordinary story about a woman's real-life search for the child she was compelled to give up for adoption fifty years earlier, it's also a marvelous character study of two highly mismatched people brought together by chance to solve a mystery with both knowing that the odds are very much against them. And even though this sort of story has been done many times before, Philomena not only manages to avoid cliche, it takes surprising twists and turns along the way showing that real life can indeed trump the best that fiction has to offer. It engages you from the very beginning, draws you further in with each scene until you are so deeply invested in the characters and their quest that everything that unfolds on the screen matters to you.

The plot begins with Philomena Lee (marvelously played by Judi Dench) , a retired Irish woman living in England with her grown daughter, staring at a small old photograph of a little boy about 3 years old. When her daughter, Jane (Anna Maxwell Martin), asks, Philomena reveals a secret she's kept all her adult life - that when she was a young girl in Ireland she had a son out of wedlock that she was forced, very much against her will, to give up for adoption.
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving "human interest story" December 1, 2013
Format:DVD
"Philomena" (2013 release from the UK; 95 min.) brings the story ("inspired by true events", we are reminded at the beginning) of Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan) and Philomena Lee(played by Judi Dench). As the movie opens, we learn that journalist Sixsmith just lost his job (Sixsmith: 'I'm depressed because I just go the sack'; his doctor: 'But it wasn't your fault'. Sixsmith: "that's why I'm depressed!") and is now contemplating writing a book about Russian history. Meanwhile, through flashbacks we learn that in the early 1950s Philomena became pregnant at a young age. Her parents gave her into care of the nuns at Roscrea Abbey in Ireland, where eventually her young son was given up/sold to an American couple. Philomena has been wanting to find her son ever since. Philomena's daughter convinces Sixsmith to take on this "human interest story", and off go Sixsmith and Philomena looking for her son. To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: Steve Coogan pretty much took on this project, and in addition to starring, he also co-wrote the script and produced the movie. I very much enjoyed his restrained performance. Even better is Judi Dench, now in het mid-to-late 70s yet seemingly better than ever. While the movie is ostensibly about Philomena looking for her son, the movie is actually much more about the at first awkward relationship between Philomena and Sixsmith, and the "fish out of water" experiences when Philomena gets to the US. The chemistry between Dench and Coogan is palpable, and it truly carries the movie (Philomena: 'do you want a N-Tune?', to which Sixsmith responds: 'if I hum it, will you play it?', ha!). But the last 15-20 min.
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96 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts are NOT Kind to Catholic Church November 30, 2013
Format:DVD
You may ask what is Judi Dench up to this time? I wonder if this wonderful actress ever dreamed her career would continue to soar into her golden years. I hasten to add that everything you have heard in praise of this film is richly deserved. This is a road picture without the outrageous calamities that usually beset players in this genre; it is a gentle comedy without demeaning any of the characters; and it is also a very effective drama about a young mother and her long-lost child.

This PG-13, pleasantly scripted dramedy was co-written by Jeff Coke (Lots of TV) and Mr. Coogan himself, based on the book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee" by Martin Sixsmith. You will see no sweaty bodies (except when Philomena gives birth), hear no gunshots, and see no vehicular mayhem. What a relief!

We have:
* Judi Dench ("Skyfall") is Philomena Lee. Many decades ago, as a pregnant teenager abolished to a convent, she was forced to give up her out-of-wedlock boy as penance. She has searched for him for a long, long time. This woman is not worldly, but she IS wise...
* Steve Coogan ("What Maisie Knew") is Martin Sixsmith, a jaded journalist who suffers from a mild case of depression; he did after all, just lose his job. When he is first approached about this story, his reaction is strictly negative. "Human Interest Stories" are NOT his cup of tea! This may be the first time I've found this actor appealing.
* Anna Maxwell Martin ("North and South") is Jane, Philomena's daughter who is convinced her mother deserves to know what happened to her little boy after he was taken from her. Jane is the one who approaches the journalist...
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