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Trailer Watch: Stephen Frears' 'Philomena,' Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 12, 2013 at 1:17PM

Check out the first trailer for Stephen Frears' "Philomena," starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The film, based on a true story, centers on Philomena Lee (Dench) who embarks with a political jouranalist (Coogan) on a journey through America to discover the truth about her son, who was taken away from her as a baby.
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Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in 'Philomena'
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in 'Philomena'

Check out the first trailer for Stephen Frears' "Philomena," starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The film, based on a true story, centers on Philomena Lee (Dench) who embarks with a political jouranalist (Coogan) on a journey through America to discover the truth about her son, who was taken away from her as a baby. 

The film is set for a world premiere at Venice before a North American debut at Toronto. It hits UK theaters November 1, with no word yet on a stateside release. But with the Weinstein Company distributing, you can bet it will be an Oscar player if critics' reviews are positive out of the fall fests.

Frears has nabbed Oscar nominations twice, for 2007's "The Queen" and 1991's "The Grifters." Dench won the Oscar in 1999 for her supporting turn in "Shakespeare in Love"; she has been nominated for Academy Awards an additional five times.

Here's the official synopsis:

Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a “fallen woman”. When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him but with no success.

Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off to America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between Philomena and Martin.

The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss that ultimately celebrates life, showing that there is laughter even in the darkest places.

It is adapted by Coogan and Jeff Pope from Martin Sexsmith's book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee."

This article is related to: Video, Video, Trailers, Trailers, Stephen Frears, Judi Dench, Steve Coogan


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.