Box art for Philomena


comedy, drama

Academy Award®-Winner Judi Dench stars as Philomena, a woman who alongside a grumpy reporter (Steve Coogan) journeys to America to find the child she put up for adoption so many years ago.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 15
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

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."

what families can talk about

  • 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?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Philomena reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A subtly told tale of tragedy and redemption, with much of the sentimental payoff you're expecting but several intriguing plot twists along the way.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Friday, November 22, 2013

Fresh: At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fresh: Director Stephen Frears manages to successfully walk the tricky line between comedy and dark drama. It keeps the audience off-kilter a bit, but in a good way; we shouldn't always need to know what's coming next, in terms of tone or plot.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Phenomenal. Par excellence.

- imrealgod, Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5 stars

A truly powerful, memorable and deeply moving movie. A true stroy that truly hits you, it has humor and heartbreak. One of the most beautifully character driven and emotionally involved films I have seen in a very longtime. One of 2013's most breathtaking and triumphant motion pictures. Director, Stephen Frears crafts a dynamic and compelling masterwork. It's sharp, very funny and very well characterized film. It delivers superb writing's and glorious acting from its two leads. Judi Dench gives one of her greatest performances, a brilliant and wonderful portrayal full of grace, heart and heroism. Steve Coogan is outstanding, he gives an impressive and strong performance. Coogan and Dench have excellent chemistry together. Coogan also helps pen this delightful script that does not hold back on any of the crueler themes and stays true to its roots. A sheer and beautiful piece of work that's honest, poignant and filled with heart. A truly remarkable, charming and tear-jerking comedic drama. This is certainly one of my new favorite films ever.

- allan913, Monday, April 28, 2014

3 stars

With amusing moments of humor and good performances by Dench and Coogan, this fine and sad little drama packs some unexpected emotional punches, but there is not much else into it and it is not as challenging and original as it really could have been.

- blacksheepboy, Friday, February 28, 2014