Leo Brady’s review published on Letterboxd:
Philomena may not seem like the type of film that you give five stars, but finding problems with this film would be a stretch in every regard. What you have here is a story that is so innocent in its tale, because the lead character is an innocent, sweet old lady. Director Stephen Frears gives you a film that is part fish out of water road trip and investigation. It is the true story about Philomena Lee (Played to perfection by Judi Dench) and Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a dismissed member of the Labour Party. As a teenager Philomena was forced to live in a convent in her home of Ireland after she became pregnant. In the convent she gave birth to a son who was eventually sold into adoption. This was a secret she kept for over 50 years and she has now come clean to Sixsmith who helps her on her journey to discover where her son is now. Along the way the two battle with questions of faith and religion, but also become close friends in the end. Dench, is absolutely adorable as she says hello to all the members of the wait staff at restaurants. Philomena is a woman who has been through the struggles of being ashamed for what she did to her son. But she also was betrayed by the ladies of the convent who she had dedicated her love and faith to. It is a complex and lovely film. Some may feel the film condemns the catholic church and even the democratic party, but this is a true story. Nobody is condemned if it really happened. It is a lovely film! Dench and Coogan are perfect together!