OK for kids 15+
Smart, wrenching, deeply moving drama fine for older teens.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Philomena is a moving, gracefully filmed drama that's somewhat teen-friendly, though younger teens may find the subjects -- teen pregnancy resulting in a traumatic stay at a nunnery, deep religious guilt, death from AIDS, abandonment, and guilt -- quite heavy. Expect some infrequent swearing, including one "f--k."
- Families can talk about why Philomena kept her story for so long and why she decided to share it decades later. Why does she respond to the nuns the way she chooses to in the end? What is the ultimate message of the movie?
- Does the film shed light on any real-life injustices you didn't know about before? What do you think of what happened to Philomena?
The good stuff
Messages: Guilt will devour you if you let it. Instead, consider forgiving yourself, which can lead you to forgive others who have wronged you. Also, persistence pays off. And there is always an option for a second (or third) act in life.
Role models: Philomena is an interesting lead, harboring a secret she finds shameful but still giving, honest, inquisitive, adventurous, and, important considering the situation, brave. Martin may be more cagey and cynical, but in the end, he acts out of a generosity in spirit.
What to watch for
Violence: Some scenes of a teenager being held down brusquely while giving birth, spoken to by nuns who are ostensibly helping her with little compassion.
Sex: References to a girl meeting a boy at a fair and having sex, but we see nothing more than kissing in flashbacks. A brief discussion about female genitals, bisexuality, and homosexuality.
Language: Some choice words, including "s--t" and "f--k," though they're used rarely.
Consumerism: A Sony Vaio is prominently displayed in one scene, a Guinness in another. Also, a discussion about BMW cars (the logo is also visible) as well as a Mazda.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Fairly frequent drinking, usually beer but also hard liquor, in pubs and parties.
Fan Reviews provided by
Martin and Philomena - amazing depth. by lovefilmIDO
I am so thankful that Philomena was willing to share her story with the world. This is a deeply touching story and film. One that leaves you wanting to improve all choices for women and children. Martin was beautifully played by Steve Coogan. I don't really know how he did it. The cold man turned deeply in tune with himself was a wonderful metamorphosis to watch. Dame Judi Dench never flinches from her difficult, confusing role. She has to be so many things, loyal, broken, outspoken, soft, gentle, bold, so many things, and all at the same time. Being forced to live ones life in a way that seems so foreign, can make or break a soul. It did not completely destroy Philomena. I am glad! Judi brings her to full life, makes her story very real, her son, almost found, and the very real loss of him, very painful. While I don't like sappy, this never comes close to going there. It is real. It is gripping, and one is witnessing real love all the way through. Excellent in every way.
Philomena by nchaley
Excellent file. Great character development due to the actors and to the director. Small moments of intimate conversion between the two main characters are simple, but at the same time meaningful, an appropriate way to develop the story and connect to the hearts' of the audience.
Extremely Moving, Judi Dench & Steve Coogan are outstanding by TexasViewer
As an adoptive parent of a child from Russia it gave me an enormous look at the other side. I don't know what my son's birth mother's experiences are but I am sure that if she is looking for information about her son she too is hitting a brick wall.
This movie was incredibly moving. Philomena Lee is a remarkable and brave woman and Judi Dench is an incredible actress portraying this woman . Steve Coogan is marvelous. A hard news reporter out of his element working a human interest story. He brings just the right amount of justified indignation and righteous anger to an unbelievably cruel philosophy towards unwed mothers. I was raised Catholic and while I never met one, indeed there were and possibly still are wickedly, evil nuns.
An incredible movie.
Philomena by helenevictor
This was a wonderful movie. Judi Dench was Philomena with all the emotions and real feelings of a heartbroken mother and a brainwashed Catholic. I cried and laughed and forgot my own life. The cinematography was done well with pictures of Ireland and Washington to set the mood. It is definitely not for kids. It is a true story which makes it more enjoyable.
Another cover up by the Catholic Church; award winning performances by Tom494
Brilliant performances by the lead actress and actor. Another chilling expose on the activities of the Catholic church about their history of power, control and greed.
Philomena by ogle11
The film is a very accurate description of the catholic church hypocrisy. They teach God is all loving & forgiving, HOWEVER if you bring a child into this world ~ you are a sinner, disgrace & you need to be hidden & must do penance. Hogwash!!
The lies they told this women is a total disgrace! They put her through hell from the point she was transported there, until she found out the catholics knew where her son was; the fact he was looking for her and in fact he was buried right on their very grounds. Shame on you catholic church.
She was truly a remarkable women. An honest, kind, forgiving, soul ~ I loved the movie, despite the typical cruel, abusive tactics the catholic church bestowed on this woman. From NJ
Philomena by pickypickypicky
The movie was excellent, great acting all around and a great (mostly true) story. Also, had more humor than I was expecting--always a good thing. I highly recommend.
Amazing by susandobbins
What a heartfelt movie. Judi Dench did a superb job & so did Steve Coogan. I can't wait to read the book now. You ran the gambit of emotions watching this movie. Loved loved loved it!!!!!
Review of Philomena by davegoldshow
Good story, well acted based on a real life account of a young woman who had to give up her child and then her quest to find him years later....Had some humorous lines but it wasn't played for laughs sometimes making them miss their mark.....Great location shots of London, English, Irish country side, USA, Washington D.C.....Excellent acting led by Judy Dench, who always gives a great performance. Steve Coogan gave a good, dry performance which contrasted well with Dench's up tempo one....Supporting cast was all uniformly good which you usually get when you see a British film....Some serious issues concerning the Catholic Church were explored.....Overall, it seem to state is as it was but there was an anti-Catholic undercurrent that was in play....Not to worry if you're a Catholic, there were just a few mildly offensive moments but overall it brought forth an issue that really happened which hurt a lot of young women a long time ago....also dealt with Aids in the 80's and Its impact!
Great Story, Great Acting by NewZooReviewToo
I was afraid Philomena was going to be depressing given the subject but it wasn't at all. Judi Dench is great, giving an awesome performance even when she doesn't have dialog. The pace of the movie was very good...I didn't look at my watch once!