Philomena (Judi Dench) has been carrying a painful memory for almost fifty years. When she was just a teenager, her father, ashamed of her pregnancy, sent her to an abbey run by nuns for young single mothers. There, without her consent, her son was given up for adoption and she lost contact with him. After all this time, she finally confides her sorrow to her adult daughter while contemplating the only photo she has of four-year-old Anthony. She longs to know about him and would like to find him.
Martin (Steve Coogan) is an important journalist who has just lost his job with the BBC News and now he intends to write a book about Russia. By coincidence, he meets Philomena’s daughter who tells him about her mother and her quest. Although he’s not interested at the moment he agrees to meet with the gentle old lady and he’s charmed and moved by her story. Nevertheless, their contrasting attitudes to her ordeal are depicted in humorous interactions between the two. He is a cynical and sarcastic atheist, she’s still a traditional and forgiving Catholic. Soon, during a trip that takes them to America and back to Ireland in search of Anthony, they begin to learn from each other’s perspectives.
Who adopted the child? What was his life like? Was he loved? Would he remember her after all those years? The film concludes with the answers to these and other questions that arise in this story based on true events from the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.
This movie, made in 2013, directed by Stephen Frears, will open your eyes to the atrocious injustices sometimes committed by people whom we give our trust, and will also warm your heart towards people like Philomena who still believe and forgive.