We think of “holiday movies” as tales of families coming together. Philomena is most definitely not a holiday movie, but its portrayal of a family torn apart and a search for answers warms the heart nonetheless. It’s worth your time this Christmas.
The film is based on a true story. Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is a former journalist and political operative who has just lost his job with the British government in a highly-publicized scandal. Casting around for something to do next, Sixsmith learns of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an elderly Irish woman who was separated from her first child long ago. A “shamed girl” due to her teenage pregnancy, she was given shelter by Catholic nuns, who eventually allowed her son to be adopted by another family.