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Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena (Judi Dench) 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 (Steve Coogan), 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.