December 12, 2013 - The true story of a mother's search for her long-lost son is told in this excellent film starring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan (who also co-wrote the script and co-produced the film). The movie is based on a book by British journalist Martin Sixsmith. Steven Frears (The Queen) directs.

Dench plays Philomena Lee, a woman haunted by memories of the son she gave birth to out of wedlock in Ireland 50 years ago. Philomena was sent to an abbey to have the baby and do drudge work at the behest of the nuns. For a couple years, Philomena was allowed limited contact with her son, Anthony. But, one day, she saw him being put in a car and driven away.

Philomena kept quiet about her son for years until, one day, she blurted out the story to her daughter. Her daughter put her in touch with British journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), who promised to help Philomena find out what happened to her son. The search takes Martin and Philomena to the abbey, to America and back to the abbey, where the nuns are forced to confront what they have done.

Overall review: **** Outstanding. Coogan and Dench shine as they lead us on this journey of faith and doubt, of love and betrayal. Philomena's story helps to expose an era that the Catholic Church probably prefers stay as hidden as the unwed mothers sent to the abbey.