Judi Dench brings us yet another deep and understated performance as Philomena, supported brilliantly by screenplay writer and actor Steve Coogan. A political journalist needs to resurrect his career and a real life story takes him and his subject to the USA and back, where he unravels not only her past, but deals with his present as well.
The theme is difficult to bring alive, the proceedings make you wonder how it will all end. Theories of religion, the instincts of a mother, tolerance of sexuality, the past of the church all make a compelling story, which has a fair pace keeping in mind the length and breadth of the mystery. Peppered with footage which gives us glimpses of the past, we too feel like discovering and putting this piece to rest.
A film directed by two time Oscar nominee Stephan Frears (The Grifters, The Queen), it is filled with emotion and drama in the most tight-lipped, restrained manner possible.