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Still shot from the movie: Philomena.


Philomena (Judi Dench) has a secret: When she was a teen she gave birth to a baby, who was taken away from her. Five decades later she has an opportunity to search for the boy, with the help of a former journalist (Steve Coogan). Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: A-
Violence: A-
Sexual Content: B-
Language: D+
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Run Time: 98
Theater Release: 27 Nov 2013
Video Release: 15 Apr 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

What subtle parallels are drawn between Martin Sixsmith’s disgraced career and Philomena’s shame for being an unwed mother? In what ways are their reactions to their pasts similar, and in what ways are they different?

What allows Philomena to stop being a victim of her circumstances? What does her attitude towards the offences she has endured say about her as a person? How can holding onto past hurts affect a person? Does holding a grudge really punish anyone? Can forgiveness only be given to another when they deserve it?

What qualities do the Sisters and Philomena have that makes them each a saint and a sinner? Why is it hard to judge what is right and what is wrong? Where does the Christian attribute of mercy fit into such dilemmas? Do any of the characters exemplify this trait?

Martin has a difficult time convincing his editor that Philomena’s plight is worth publishing. What elements of her tale convince his editor to take it? Do you feel the media sometimes overlooks stories that are important yet may not contain the necessary ingredients to catch an editor’s interest?

The movie mentions the adoption of an Irish baby by actress Jane Russell.

Learn more about foreign adoptions in Ireland during the 1950-70s.

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope wrote the screenplay for this movie, which is based on book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith.

Discover the differences between the book and screenplay of this story in Philomena: The Book Versus The Movie.

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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