The Judi Dench-led ‘Philomena’ wows audiences at Venice

Los Angeles Times

By Nicole Sperling
August 31, 2013

“Philomena” is hard-to-resist Oscar bait. And according to the early reviews out of the Venice Film Festival, where the BBC Films production starring Oscar winner Judi Dench and Steve Coogan debuted, the audience bit in a big way. (Watch the trailer. Note: adult language.)

Directed by “The Queen” helmer Stephen Frears from a script Coogan wrote with Jeff Pope, “Philomena” tells the story of a down-on-his-luck journalist who teams up with an older woman (Dench) who years ago saw her son taken away after she became pregnant as a teenager and was forced into a convent.

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin called the brisk 94-minute movie a “crowd-delighter,” wooing audience members who were sobbing and clapping at the film’s conclusion.

The movie is based on a true story of Irish woman Philomena Lee’s 50-year struggle to find her son, who was sold for adoption in America, as told by Martin Sixsmith in his 2009 book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty-Year Search.”

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