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Showing 1-10 of 2,044 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,209 reviews
on May 24, 2014
Philomena is well deserving of the 23 wins and 41 nominations received. Based on a true story of an Irish woman's search for her son, the movie is a journey of discovery. Because it has so many twists and turns that will completely surprise you, I won't spoil the outcome. (Tissues may be required.)

The story begins with Philomena's encounter with a young man at a fair, with whom she has sex. As a result of her encounter, she becomes pregnant. Her family sends her away to Sean Ross Abbey in Ireland, where she gives birth at a convent that houses young girls who are pregnant out of wedlock.

During her time there, Philomena endures the harshness of working seven days a week and the constant condemnation of the nuns for her sexual indiscretion. Eventually, her young son and another baby girl are adopted by a family. For 50 years, she has kept the secret of what happened to her, even though she eventually married and had other children. In her mind, it was a sin to have given birth out of wedlock and a sin to have kept it secret for 50 years. She can't decide which is the worse of the two.

A journalist, Martin Sixsmith, decides to do a human interest story about Philomena's experience and search for her son. Her own attempts to find out what happened to him have been unfruitful, but with his journalist connections he is able to help her discover his whereabouts. They continue their search in Washington, D.C. It is here, that the story begins to surprise and shock its audience, but it culminates in a discovery you don't see coming.

The movie is filled with themes, mostly around faith, guilt, regrets, unconditional love, and the ability to forgive the cruelty of the sisters' actions. Unfortunately, Philomena is a woman driven by guilt of sins past and those present, which have been placed upon her by the church. Martin is a man who doesn't believe in God or understands the reasoning of the Catholic faith, and he often clashes with her beliefs.

The true story is also a very sad commentary of the practices of this particular Catholic abbey regarding their own lack of compassion and secrets. From 1930 to 1970 they housed pregnant, unwed mothers, buried the ones who died in childbirth from poor care, sold babies, and continued to make the girls pay for their transgressions with heartless treatment and hard work. In the end, it was a story that had to be told.

Judi Dench is wonderful, of course. She was nominated for best actress multiple times for this movie, and the winner of multiple awards. Steve Coogan humorously portrayed the journalist, along with his cynicism over religion and the church. At times, you chuckled over some of his comments and the sparring between Philomena and himself.

All in all, it's quite a good movie. Be forewarned it may challenge your beliefs.
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on January 27, 2015
Very touching story (based on real people). I'm adopted, and have had contacted with my birth mother. I've also seen stories about how horrible teen/unwed moms were treated in the past (and some still are) for something that wasn't done out of malice, cruelty, it wasn't a criminal mentality that created the child, etc. The Magdelene Laundries (that just ended in Ireland in the 1990s) were heinous, cruel warehouses for unwed mothers to hide them from shaming their families (not sure I'd want to live with someone that hateful anyway). Philomena kept her son a secret for 50 years, and then told her daughter. The search for him leads to the US (she didn't know that her son had been sold to Americans who could pay 1000 pounds for a white child, and she wasn't told he'd be leaving). Not to spoil the ending, it all comes full circle, and she seems to have gotten some peace.

Highly recommended.... for birth moms, it may be rough, but it's also well done. It tells about the horrors that young women/teens went through because they had sex.
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on December 30, 2016
This movie deserves Oscar all star winner. It was just nominated 4 awards.
Philomena(Judi Dench) is the name of the English woman who was grown in a convent by nuns.
When she was 16, she got pregnant and the nuns treated her as a sinner, took away her child, sold him to America.
After 50 years, she is desperate to find her adopted son and her daugher meets this journalist (Steve Googan) who usually writes other matters rather than human stories but finally decides to help her finding her son/ write a story about what happened back then.
There are severel or many of the same or similar stories already made from Europe but none of them touched me this deep.
Only Stephen Frears –FLORENCE Foster JENKINS, THE QUEEN, MRS HENDERSON PRESENT- can be possible made this emotionally so touching drama.
Also Judi Dench once and for all deserves an Oscar winner for sure.
She was not flamboyant or cried or shout or anything but she was so very herself all into the character. I was even wanted to see this movie a little more even during the credit is rolling. I wanted to see more of her life! Philomena’s life!
All of the Stephen Frears’ movies are so delicate and instant classic that you should just have to buy them and collect them.
Steve Googan doesn’t believe in god that much. He thinks that they are in some way fraud. When he hears about what happened to Judi Dench, he was so angry and that anger helped her all the way. I felt his justice.
When they finally have researched and even meets the lover of the son, they found out that after the son- he was gay and got AIDS- got AIDS, he visited the convent to trace his mother, they all lied by saying she abandoned him and never wanted to meet him.
He was even buried in the yard at the convent.
They thought that she was a sinner and deserved not to even meet the son even after 50 years apart.
May I ask what kind of a sin that she’ve made?
Had sex with a boy whom he loved at an early age? Is that it?
Is is so against god that she has to let go of him abroad not even knowing that the nuns are selling the baby to America?
Not even be able to meet him after he was succeeded –He became a team for the President Regan as a politician– and came back to meet her but they lied that she didn’t wanted to see him ever?
Sometimes if the movie is so real, the charactors are so great, as an audience, I become so angry as well at the fact.
But how she reacted was, I was wrong.
I am happy to know that I finally had a chance to retrace him.
Don’t blame the nuns. They did nothing wrong.
I was wrong.
But for Steve Googan as a man, he couldn’t help becoming so angry.
The very old nun still think that she is a sinner and what she did was all right.
After everything have been passed, they finally wrote this into a book.
It was all revealed into this book.
As I said, there are a lot of similar movies dealing with this matter but this movie stands alone so vivid because of the director Stephen Frears.
He knows how to cook two actors so well.
Judi Dench constantly talks about what she thinks, at the beginning it was kind of tiresome but as time goes by we begin to fall in love with that.
Steve Googan, a kind understanding man, a man with responsibility, brave and righteous man.
This movie deserves more attention.

Where to buy :dvd is 7.00$ , bluray is 8.59$ , Korea dvd is 20$

ART: 96/100
STORY 97/100
BOXOFFICE/FUN 95/100
MUSIC 96/100
ACTING 97/100
DIRECTING 97/100
SEXUALITY na/100
ACTION na/100
BLOOD/GORE na/100
CINEMATOGRAPHY 97/100
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on April 20, 2014
A lovely and gentle tale about the enduring power of love and the importance of forgiveness.

When sophisticated and cynical journalist, Martin, loses his job, he is approached by the grown daughter of Philomena Lee. Philomena, fifty years earlier was forced to give up her four year old son to comparatively rich Americans who in collusion with the Irish government and the Catholic charities literally bought the children of unwed mothers.

Philomena gave birth under harsh circumstances then was mercilessly worked to pay her 'debt' to the Sisters in their laundries for four years. Though never given a chance to say goodby to her son or even told that he would be adopted, she has never forgotten him or stopped trying to find him.

Her worries are endless--is he homeless, a drug addict, did he die in Viet Nam -and most hilariously--is he obese?--she's heard that is an enormous problem in America due to portion sizes. Her worries are both unfounded and very real--her son had done very well in life, was loved but died young. In the interim, he tried to find her as well, and asked to be buried in the churchyard of the place he was adopted from.

How Philomena reacts when she finds out about her son's life, the gentle lessons she teaches Martin, and her enduring love and ability to forgive are lovingly portrayed in this touching and often humorous story.
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on June 10, 2014
I love almost every movie I have ever seen with Judi Dench in it even when she played "M" in the 007 action hits of recent years. So I was already sure I would not likely be disappointed. This is definitely her style and a perfect performance. She plays the part of a woman she had a son out of wedlock when she was quite young. She was forced to give the boy up for adoption at the insistance of a group of nuns who take her in. As an older woman some fifty years later she goes back to Ireland trying to find some trace or information on the son which leads her with the help of a journalist reporter to travel to the United States to find the son she lost so long ago. To tell more would be to spoil. It is finely done and worth a watch. I consider it one of the finest movies I have seen in quite a while.
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on April 18, 2014
Judi Dench is magnificent. She combines eloquent silence and chatty ordinariness to portray a character of enormous, almost unfathomable resilience. I can't even wrap my mind around the pain, the grief, the desperation, and yet she mustered the determination to survive, even thrive after the torture and anguish of her youth. Well do I know the unconscionable harm that has been done to women and children by the "grace" of paternalistic religions throughout time and still I am shocked and saddened by this movie. I, unlike Philomena who grants forgiveness to evil, would tear that convent down brick by brick and sell every stick of the contents to properly maintain that graveyard of teenage girls and their babies.
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on May 26, 2014
The movie is based on a true story of a Catholic Abbey of nuns in Ireland set in the last 50 years that took in unwed, pregnant young girls, basically turned them into a combination of prisoner and slaves, and then sold their babies for adoption mainly to rich Americans. The movie is mainly the story of one mother and son and their journey to find one another again before he died and the "stone wall" the Abbey put in their way. It is a sad movie, almost unbelievable that those that chose a religious life to serve God could be so rotten to fellow humans, but it is a very good story, well written and acted, with Judi Dench superb in the role of Philomena as always. Definitely worth renting.
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on December 13, 2015
This story will stay with you long after the final credits roll. I borrowed this movie from my local library after reading multiple positive reviews. I also think Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are wonderful actors. I was surprised to discover how heavy the subject matter is. The reviews I'd read made the film seem a bit quirky and heartwarming. The bright and cheery movie cover also lends an air of happiness. Philomena is a gut-wrenching true story that feels like it must have happened years and years ago. That this story took place in just the 1950s is unfathomable. I have since purchased the DVD and the paperback movie tie-in, and have shared, and purchased, the pair as gifts for others. When recommending this movie and book to someone for the first time, I always suggest watching the movie FIRST, for those who do not like "spoiler alerts" (for lack of a better term). The book contains many photos that give rich detail to the story, and they also provide a summary of the story arc. This is an amazing, yet difficult movie to watch, and I hope this review does it a bit of justice.
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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2015
This is a wonderf but very sad film that tells the story of women and one woman in particular, Philomena, who bore children out of wedlock in the 20th century. Judi Dench is without a doubt one of the finest actors ever to grace a film or TV series. Her charactyer in this film brought tears to my eyes and I have watched it several times. All of the other actors are superb too.
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on September 4, 2014
Wow, the people who made this movie really hate the Catholic church, but the movie is based on a true story so perhaps the emotion is justified. An unwed mother and her child are torn apart by the lies and prejudice of those who should be protecting them, but in the end the mother discovers the truth and a sour, cynical reporter finds new purpose. This isn't the movie for you if you are looking for a romantic comedy or are a hardcore Catholic who thinks the church can do no wrong. Great performances from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, who shows he can do something other than comedy.
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