Philomena is based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, the story of a woman in 1950’s Ireland who was forced into a convent to work manual labor in order to hide an illicit pregnancy. Three years into living in the convent her child was adopted. Eventually she left, was married, and had other children. But throughout her life she never stopped searching for the child that was taken away from her. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (author of the book) read of her story and decided to assist in her quest. Their journey led them all the way to America where life changing secrets were revealed and unanswered questions were put to rest.
The first half of the movie had a very slow pace. Almost too slow. Director Stephen Frears was wise to allow the characters time to develop but once I understood them I wanted to know what was to happen next. Scenes with minimal dialogue and melancholy music made it feel long and drawn out. The plot picked up heavily once in America. What touched me most about was that it all started with a seemingly simple older woman trying to find her son. Everyone has a story and this is richly evident in this story of Philomena.