Philomena (2013) Script

Blood glucose fine. Liver function, kidney function, normal.

Platelet count's normal. Haemoglobin levels normal.

Blood pressure, 131 over 92.

Isn't this a little high?

Weight's fine. Could do with losing a centimetre or two off your waist.

Oh. Stool sample outstanding. Oh.

No, that means you haven't provided one yet.

Yes, of course. No, I'd remember.

You think it didn't stink or something?

There's nothing wrong with you, Martin.

Uh, your wife tells me you think you're mildly depressed?

Well, I got the sack. I'm unemployed.

Yes. But it wasn't your fault, was it? That's why I'm depressed.

I got sacked for saying something I didn't say.

Try running.

I said the opposite of what I was sacked for.

What are you working on at the moment?

Uh, thinking of writing a book.

Oh! Well, that's good. What's it about?

Russian history.

Try running.

The Whitehall feud between the transport secretary Stephen Byers and his former press secretary Martin Sixsmith continues to grow.

Mr Sixsmith has been putting his side of the argument.

Downing Street described the affair as a soap opera.

REPORTER: There was no sign of Mr Sixsmith at his home today, but after a week of trying to clear his name in private, he's now gone public.

He told the Sunday Times that senior figures in government had offered him support.

"They assured me they accepted there was no suspicion of misconduct against me.

I was therefore amazed they had unilaterally 'resigned' me."

CHOIR: ♪ Mother Of God Here I Stand

♪ Before this icon of your radiant brightness

♪ Not praying to be saved...

I would like to make a statement regarding the circumstances of Mr Martin Sixsmith's resignation.

The question here is, how long can Mr Blair stand by his man and not himself be damaged?

There's no doubt that there's been yet another embarrassment for the government.

They've not only had to eat fantastic quantities of humble pie, indeed humble pie, I would say, with a side order of grovel sauce.

And so far as Mr Sixsmith is concerned...

There you are. Well, that was embarrassing.

Father Tierney just asked me where you disappeared to.

Well... I don't believe in God. And I think he can tell.

Come on.

I'm worried about you, Martin. I did that.

I wish you had. You need to get back to work.

What happened to that book on Russian history?

No one's interested in Russian bloody history.




I haven't seen you any place. Where are you from?

Are you from Limerick, then?

Hello, Philomena. Father.

How have you been? How's your new hip?

Oh, it's very good. It's titanium.

I haven't seen you for a while. I just came into light a candle.

Someone special?



I like your dress.

Did you make it yourself?

No. I bought it in a shop.

And anyways, me auntie told me I wasn't supposed to speak to strange men like you.

WOMAN: Did you let him put his hands on you?

ANOTHER WOMAN: Did you enjoy your sin?

Did you take your knickers down?

Answer Sister Hildegarde. Did you take them down?


Oh, Reverend Mother, at school, the sisters never taught us about babies.

Did your mother not tell you?

Her mother died ten years ago. Oh.

God rest her soul.

REVEREND MOTHER: Don't dare blame the sisters for this.

You are the cause of this shame. You and your indecency.



(SCREAMS) I don't know what to do!

We must get a doctor. The baby's the wrong way round. It's breech!

It's in God's hands now. The pain is her penance.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!


Don't let her put my baby in the ground!

It's cold in there. It's dark in there.


Just go up and turn their lights out in half an hour. OK?

Doesn't she know you have a proper job?

She's short staffed. I'm just filling in.

I'll be home before midnight.


What is it? Are you all right?

Who is it?

It's his birthday.

He'll be 50 today.



It's a boy.


Oh, Martin!

Hello, David. Hello.

Keith you know. Yes, hello again.

And Sally Mitchell, this is Martin Sixsmith, used to be the BBC's man in Moscow.

And Washington. Hello.

Then he became a spin doctor for the government, and it all went a bit tits-up.

Is that a fair summation, Martin?

That's fair enough. I always say, "if you shovel shit for long enough, eventually you'll get some on your shoes."

Yes, you got it on your head. How did you manage that?

What are you up to at the moment?

I'm thinking of writing a book on Russian history.

Or something else. Maybe get back into journalism.

I remember you!

You're the one who sent that terrible e-mail saying it was a good day to bury bad news on 9/11.

No, that was someone else. Well, I thought it was you.

No, it's a common mistake. On the day of Princess Margaret's funeral, I sent an e-mail saying let's make sure the only thing we "bury", today, is Princess Margaret. Which is slightly different.

It's very different, actually... But...

If you want to get back into journalism, you should talk to Sally.

I just do sob stories, human interest. It's not really your cup of tea, is it?


But I'll be happy to have a look if you want to push any ideas my way.

Yes... Please.

Excuse me. Do you have a glass of Pinot Grigio?

It's just red or white.

I'll have white, please.

I couldn't help overhearing you're a journalist.

I know this woman, she had a baby when she was a teenager and she's kept it secret for 50 years.

I only found out today.

Sorry. The baby was taken from her by these nuns.

They made her have him adopted. Mm.

And she's kept it a secret all this time.

Well, the thing is, I'm working on a book at the moment about Russian history.

That's my thing.

And what you're talking about would be what they call a human interest story.

I don't do those.

Why not?

Because "human interest story" is a euphemism for stories about weak-minded, vulnerable, ignorant people, to put in newspapers read by vulnerable, weak-minded, ignorant people.

Not that you are. And, yeah, anyway, I hope you find him.

Do you think I should do a human interest story?

Hello, you must be Philomena. I'm Martin.

Hello, Martin. Hello again.


We've got a table through here. After you.

Just to the left.

I must apologise for the other night.

Afraid I was a bit... Caught me at a bad moment.

That's all right. I'm just glad you managed to track me down.

I hope you don't mind coming here. It's Mum's favourite.

No, no, it's... it's very nice.

Um, just...

So, Philomena, how are you?

I'm all right.

I had a hip replacement last year, Martin.


It's much better than the bone one I had before.

And it's titanium, so it won't rust.

Oh. That's good, otherwise they'd have to oil you like the Tin Man.

Is that right?

No, I mean, you know, like The Wizard Of Oz.

He's just joking, Mum. No, no, I'm just joking. No...

My mother has advanced osteoarthritis in both her knees.


Shall we get some salad? Salad, yes.


Jane's the clever one in our family. She went to university as a mature student.

You know, when you're quite old.

Where did you go, Martin? Oxbridge, I bet.

You've rumbled me. Oxford, yes.

I knew you weren't a duffer.

I don't think I've been in a Harvester before. Do they not have them in London?

No, I tend to go to a little local place, near where I live.

And where's that? Knightsbridge.

Oh. Well, that must be very expensive.

I love these little bits of toast on mine...

And are you married, Martin?

Yes, I am. To Kate. 20 years. That's good. That's grand.

I did love him, you know.

I've kept what happened to me buried away for 50 years.

My father just left me with the nuns, he was so ashamed.

He told everyone I was dead.

My family never visited me.

After you'd had your baby, you had to stay in the abbey for four years.

In order to repay the sisters for taking you in, you had to work.

The worst jobs were in the laundry. That's where they put me.

I worked there seven days a week, the whole time I was there.

I worked there with my best friend, Kathleen.

We were allowed to see our children for an hour a day.

Come on. That was all.

Walk, don't run!

Mary! Mummy.

Anthony was best friends with Kathleen's daughter, Mary.

The two of them were inseparable.

Look at that. He won't let her out of his sight.

What's the matter?

The girls in the kitchen said that Mother Barbara had Mary up at the house.

What do you think they wanted with her?


I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.

I won't be a minute.

Phil, I've got something for you. Kathleen's worried sick.

She thinks they'll take Mary from her. I told her they'd tell her first for sure.


You can't tell anyone you've got it.

I bet the father was handsome. He was. How did you get this?

I borrowed a Box Brownie and took it when Reverend Mother wasn't looking.

Thank you.

Whenever I look at that photo of Anthony, I say a little prayer for Anunciata, who saved his life when I gave birth to him.

She died a long time ago now...

But if she hadn't taken that, I'd have nothing.

So, were you just trapped there the whole time?

You could only leave if you paid them £100.

But where would I get that kind of money?

And where would I go?

I remember that day so clearly.

We all knew what it meant when a big car arrived.

Kathleen was inconsolable.

She knew this time they'd come for Mary.

No, no, no, no.


Come away from there!

What are you doing out here?

I had a stomach ache, Sister Hildegarde.

It's my time of the month.

You're not unique in that regard.

Put your mind to your work and it will pass.


Phil, it's choir practice.

You'll be in trouble if you don't go.

Normally, I loved to sing.

It was one of the only things I enjoyed in that place.

But all I could think about was poor Kathleen.


Philomena, they're taking Anthony. No, no.

They're taking him away. No.

Where is he? (BABY CRYING)











They'd only come for Mary, but Anthony wouldn't let her out of his sight.

They were inseparable.

I think what they did to you was evil.

No, no, no, I don't like that word.

No, no. Evil's good.

Story-wise, I mean.

Some of the nuns were very nice.

It was a breech birth. They wouldn't even give her any painkillers.


Again, story-wise.

So, can we go and talk to these nuns?

Uh, yes, well, you could try. Maybe you'll have more luck than Mum's had.

I've been several times over the years to ask where he was.

And they're very helpful, they're not like they used to be.

They said they'd try and trace him for me.

But they haven't? No.

Can you help me find him, Martin?

Well, it's a very interesting story.

I'm taking Mum to Ireland for a few days next week.

Why don't you come with us? You could visit Roscrea with her.

Yes, there's plenty of room. It's a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Oh, no. I mean, thank you. But... I like to fly.


Hello. Sorry I'm late.

Hello, Martin. Hi, Martin.

I had a bit of trouble with the hire car.

Well, this is lovely, isn't it, Jane? There you go.

I see why you wouldn't want to squash up with us in the Cavalier.

No, no. It wasn't that. It was... I just had a few things to do.

Sure you don't want me to come, Mum? You're not coming?

No, I told Jane we'll be fine on our own, just the two of us.

Isn't that right, Martin? Yeah. That's fine.

I've put a few things in your bag. I'll see you tonight.

Thanks, Martin. OK.


What kind of a car is this? A BMW.

That's German. Mm-hm.

Would you like a Tune, Martin?

If I hum it, will you play it?

No, would you like a Tune?

Yes. I'm just...



That's for good luck.

I've always thought that Saint Christopher was a bit of a Mickey Mouse saint.

I used to be an altar boy.

Do you believe in God, Martin?

Well, where do you start?

I've always thought that was a very difficult question to... give a simple answer to.

Do you? Yes.


You all right? I'm fine.


I'm one of the lucky ones, Martin.

Some of the mothers and babies didn't even survive the childbirth.


Can I help you? I'm Philomena Lee.

I made an appointment. Yes. Come in, Philomena.

This is my friend Martin Sixsmith, News At Ten.

Well, it's BBC News, actually, but not any more.

Oh, hello. Hello.

Sister Claire will be with you shortly. Thank you.

May I use the bathroom?

It's downstairs on... I know where it is.

Will I get you both some tea?

Yes, thank you.






(SOBBING) Anthony!

Anth... ony!


Hello. Oh, hello.

I'm Sister Claire. Yes, hello.

I was just admiring your picture of Jayne Mansfield there.

No, that's Jane Russell. Jayne Mansfield was the blonde one.

Yes, of course, yes. But they were both very big.

I mean the two of them, they were huge. Their careers.

Which one of them died in a car crash? Jayne Mansfield, yes.

Why is she on the wall? Sorry, I didn't catch your name.

Martin Sixsmith. Martin Sixsmith, News At Ten.

Well, I was with the BBC, but not any more.

Hello, Philomena. Very nice to meet you.

I'm Sister Claire. Sister Claire.

Now, when was the last time you came to see us, Philomena?

It was well before your time, Sister Claire.

I spoke to Sister Hildegarde on the telephone and when I came here she wasn't well enough to see me.

She's still with us, but she's very frail now.

Oh, Martin, have some buttered brack.

Wouldn't mind.

Mm. That's very nice. It's like son of pan dolce?

It is fruit bread, Martin. Yes. No, I know. It's lovely.

Well, now, I don't know if they told you last time, Philomena, but most of our records were destroyed in the big fire.

Oh? Fire?

Well, it was before my time. So I'm afraid I have no news of Anthony.

I still go to Mass and...

...I don't want to cause any fuss or point the finger at anybody, or blame the Church in any way.

I only want to know if he's all right. I don't even need to see him.

I have visions of him and he's homeless and nobody loves him.

Philomena, we can't take away your pain, but we can walk through it with you, hand in hand.


These older nuns... Sorry to interrupt.

These older nuns, perhaps they could help us with some of the details?

Most of them have passed away.

Right. What about the ones that haven't?

I don't think you're going to get much sense out of them.

But can we try?

I don't think that's going to be possible.

Why not?

I'm happy to answer any questions Philomena has.

Well, I'm asking you a question. You're a journalist.

Yes, I am. Well, I used to be.

Martin's a Roman Catholic. Yes... Well, no, I used to be.

I'd feel more comfortable if I could speak to Philomena in private.




Can I help?

Oh, sorry. I was just... Are you looking for something?

What's down here?

Those are private quarters. Oh. OK.

I'll wait outside.


Sorry, I was just having a look round.

What did she say to you?

Oh, she said you were a journalist and that... you were trying to manipulate me and that I should be careful what I say to you.

She also gave me this.

Do you want me to open it? Mm-hm.

Well, it's a contract, signed by you in 1955.

It says, "I hereby relinquish full claim forever to my said child Anthony Lee.

I further undertake..."

"..never to attempt to see, interfere with or make any claim to the said child at any future time."

I'll never find him.

If they coerced you in any way to sign this, we can challenge them legally.

Marlin, no one coerced me.

I signed of my own free will.

It's funny, isn't it?

All the pieces of paper designed to... help you find him have been destroyed.

But guess what? The one piece of paper designed to stop you finding him has been lovingly preserved.

God in His infinite wisdom decided to spare that from the flames.

I signed it because I believed I'd committed a terrible sin and had to be punished.

But what made it so much worse was that I enjoyed it.

What? The sex.


It was wonderful, Martin. I thought I was floating on air.

He was so handsome... and the way he held me in his arms.

The thing is I didn't even know I had a clitoris, Martin.


And after the sex was over, I thought anything that feels so lovely must be wrong.

Fucking Catholics.


I spent 30 years as a nurse. I've heard worse than that.

It's just, why would God bestow upon us a sexual desire that he then wants us to resist?

Is it some weird game he's invented to alleviate the boredom of being omnipotent?

It baffles me.

And I think I'm pretty clever.

Well, maybe you're not.

How'd it go? What, from the Sisters of Little Mercy?

Right, so just tea and cake, then?

That's all they've ever given you, isn't it, Mum?

It's not their fault, Jane.

They had a fire and all the records were lost.

No, thank you. It's past your bedtime. Thank you.

Now, he's just poured it now. Slainte.


Right. Night, Martin. Night, Jane.

Night-night, Martin. Night, Philomena. Sleep well.


Been up to the Abbey? Mm.

Yes. Yes, it's um...

Things obviously very different now. The nuns are different.

Not the same ones they had when the Magdalen girls were there.

WOMAN: Sure. They're all gone now!

We've had a few staying here, looking to find what happened to their sons or daughters.

Not many of them get any joy from there.

And the big fire that destroyed everything. Do you know how that started?

I should think they put a match to it. Who?

The Sisters. Sure they had a great fire on the field out the back.

What, so the Abbey wasn't on fire?

They had a bloody big bonfire. Burnt all the records. Thousands of 'em.

Why? I mean... This is years ago.

I suppose they were embarrassed about selling babies to America.

And they don't want people telling tales.

That's me mother. You say they sold babies to Americans?

A lot of the Yanks came over to Ireland to look for babies.

They were the only ones who could afford them.


Jane Russell bought a baby from Derry in 1952... the film star.

I can't believe they sold babies. She came in here looking for Bourbon, but they had to give her a glass of Paddy instead.

If you were a Catholic with £1,000, you could buy a baby.

Jane Russell bought one to take home with her.

But I'm not one to repeat gossip.

No, no, I can see that.

Slainte. Yes, cheers.

MARTIN: Sally, you told me to call you if I came up with something and this fell into my lap.

Go on. It's quite interesting, actually.

I think there are themes about people searching for their family trees and the whole Irish Diaspora...

Don't use words like diaspora, Martin.

I can't spell it and people don't know what it means.

The exodus that followed the Irish famine.

No, no, no. I'm genuinely not interested in what it means.


Who are the goodies? Who are the baddies?

Well, it's about a little old Irish lady, a retired nurse, who is searching for her long lost son who was taken - snatched from her at birth - by... evil nuns.

So how does it end? And it's got to be really happy or really sad.

Either he's chairman of IBM or a hobo, it doesn't matter.

The years melted away as a 50-year silence was broken by two simple words, "Hello, Mum."

I could write it now.

I didn't know you were so cynical.

My guess is that Anthony was adopted and sent to America.

The Abbey dealt almost exclusively with American customers.

I can't believe they sold babies. They were trying to give him a better life.

They tried to make money out of him! There's a problem.

I got through to the Sacred Heart Adoption Society in Cork this morning.

They referred me to the Irish Adoption Board, who referred me back to the Sacred Heart Adoption Society.

Around in circles! They won't help us.

But I spoke to some contacts from my Washington days last night, and there are avenues we can pursue in America.

The stumbling block is I can only get so far speaking on your behalf, Philomena.

But as his mother, they would be legally bound to provide you with the information.

Are you suggesting you take my mother to America with you?

If you want. My editor's agreed to foot the bill.

How would you feel about going to America with Martin?

Uh... I... I don't know.

I could come with you if you like.

No, no, no, you have your work.

I'm worried that Martin will have to go all that way with a daft old woman like me.

I don't think you're daft. Go away, would you?

Or old.

I think I would like to go.

I'd like to know if Anthony ever thought of me...

...cos I've thought of him every day.

Ooh, Washington. Lovely.

Did you pack your baggage yourself? Yes. My daughter helped me.

I'm getting the royal treatment, Martin. I feel like the Pope.


Well, it'll save your hip.

Is that an interesting book? I've just finished mine.

Uh.. Yeah, no, mine's rather dull. It's about the October Revolution.

Political horse-trading... Oh, mine's about horses.

It's about this fellow, Robert, and he's engaged to this duchess.

And he's only the son of a doctor, so he's done very well for himself.

But this woman, this duchess, she's terrible.

She's as vain as you like, and she's always looking at herself in the mirror and all that sort of thing.

Anyway, she thinks he's as dull as ditch-water so he takes up an interest in the horses so he can get in with the upper classes.

And, of course, he meets this girl down at the stables.

And she's not even a doctor's daughter.

Her father's a farmhand and he only has the one foot.

Oh, dear. But of course they fall in love.

And now he's torn between becoming a duke - if he marries the duchess, he'll become lord of the manor and all that...

OK. ..and the stable girl who he loves, but she hasn't a penny to her name.

Well, the big day's coming, the wedding, and this girl...

This girl, she's lovely. She says Robert has to do his duty.

He's already spoken for. And he's being measured for a suit.

You can tell his heart's not in it cos all the while he's thinking about the horses and the stable girl.

So they're all waiting for him at the church, all the hoi polloi, but the thing is, Martin, this duchess, she only wants Robert to spite the fella she's really after.

And then towards the end she finds out that the stable girl has designs on Robert.

But before that, the father with the one foot dies and he says to Robert, "Follow your heart."

The duchess gives the stable girl her marching orders and she packs her things.

There's a pony and trap waiting outside and she gets in, she says, "Do you know where we're going?"

And the driver turns round, and if it isn't your man Robert!

And he says, "I'm taking you to a place where no one can hurt you any more."

Well, I didn't see that coming, Martin, not in a million years.

It's nice when there's a surprise.

Sounds like a real page-turner. You can borrow it.

That's OK. No, no. I've just finished it now.

Well, I feel like I've almost read it.

The Slipper And The Horse Shoe.

Oh, there's a series of them.


Champagne or Buck's Fizz?

No, thank you. Oh. No, thank you.

It's free. Oh. I say! I'll have a Buck's Fizz.

Thank you. This is lovely, Martin.

You have to pay for everything on Ryanair.

Well, they don't have club class. Slainte.


Alex, how are you? Not seen you since you... left the department. I was gonna call you, actually.

Still friends? Absolutely.

I hope you didn't think I dropped you in it.

Don't worry about it. The fog of war.

Yeah, collateral damage.

So, what are you up to? Off to the primaries?

Yes, yes. No. He's helping me look...

I'm just... We're just here... It's a human interest story. Journalism.

Well, good luck with it. Listen, I better scoot back.


I'm sorry, Martin. Should we pretend we don't know each other?

No. No, no, no, it's... It's just someone I used to work with.

A spin doctor. I'm trying to avoid them.

Is that first class in there? It's just a perk of the job.

Just cos you're in first class, it doesn't make you a first-class person.

He's all right.

I think he needs a good swipe of shite.

Yes, you're probably right.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Washington Dulles Airport.

Martin, did you have a little chocolate on your pillow?

Yes, I did, yes.

How the other half lives, eh? Yes.

Would you look at the view! Wow. Yeah.

Mine's of an air conditioning duct.


Ah. It's Caroline from the records office. Better get this. Hello.

Well, that's conjecture, guess work.

Good guess work. Send over the long list, then I can sort of...

TV: Martin Lawrence is going undercover.

Great. Fabulous. I'll talk to you in the morning.

OK. Bye-bye.

Shall we go for a walk, get rid of the jet lag?

You said you wanted to visit the Lincoln Memorial?

We could go and see Mr Lincoln.

Or we could watch, on television, Big Momma's House.

It's about a little black man pretending to be a fat black lady.

They've just showed some of it on the television.

And they're all chasing after him.

It looked hilarious, Martin.

Isn't he wonderful?

I've always wanted to see him in his big chair.

Well, he was a big man.

Literally - six foot four. Tallest American President.

Well, you can see that. He's tall even sitting down.

I had a friend whose daughter paid for her to go to Florida for her 70th birthday.

She said to me, "Phil, the size of the portions, you wouldn't believe."

If you just go... Let's just take a quick picture, see.

You go stand by the line.

Is this for the article? It is. Just go back further.

Only I'm a little bit worried, because if we find him, he might be very disapproving of talking to the papers.

Families are private things.

I know. Go and stand back there. That's true, they are private, but tracking him down's an expensive business, and so it's sort of like a quid pro quo, isn't it?

What does that mean? Well, it literally means this for that.

Don't worry. I won't write anything you're unhappy with. I want to tell the truth.

Yes. That's the thing I'm worried about.

Should I smile or should I be serious?

Erm... Let's do one happy, one not so happy.

I'm getting scared, now we're getting closer.

All these years, wondering whether Anthony was in trouble or in... prison, or goodness knows where.

As long as I didn't know, I could always tell myself he was happy somewhere and that he was doing all right.

But what if he died in Vietnam?

Or came back with no legs, or lived on the street...

Don't upset yourself. Hm?

We don't know what we don't know. We'll deal with that when we get to it.

Well, what if he was a drug addict, Martin?

Or what if he was obese?


I watched this documentary that says a lot of Americans are huge.

What if that's happened to him?

What on earth makes you think he'd be obese?

Because of the size of the portions.




No, I've got a bathrobe, Philomena.

Yes, there are two in every room. And slippers.

OK, you've just got a bit of jet lag. Just try and get your head down.

All right, night-night.

How is everyone? KATE: Yeah. We're good.

Danny won his rugby match today, nearly scored a try.

That's fantastic. - How's Philomena?

Well, I've finally seen, first hand, what a lifetime's diet of the Reader's Digest, the Daily Mail and romantic fiction can do to a person's brain.


She keeps telling the hotel staff how kind they are.

She must think they're volunteers.

She told four people today they were one in a million.

What are the chances of that?

Come on, she's just a little old Irish lady.




Hi. ls everything all right?

Martin, I just wanted to tell you something earlier but it slipped my mind.

And then I thought I'd tell you on the phone but I forgot the number.


Well, what I want to say, Martin, is thank you for helping me look for my son.


I know you got the sack from your job...

I mean, not the News At Ten one, but that other one.

Well, their loss is my gain.

Thank you.

Well, good night, Martin. Good night, Philomena.


Hello, Caroline, it's Martin Sixsmith.

I just wanted to check... Yeah, the file with the immigration cuttings?

I know you checked it. Could you send that through?

We don't really have Mexicans in England.

We have Indians instead, and everyone loves curry.

Martin. Martin. They've got omelettes over there.

- Thank you. Pancakes, and waffles, any filling.

Cereal, bacon and sausage. I know.

Anything you want. I saw. I saw.

Breakfast is included, isn't it? It is.

It's just it's too early for me. My stomach hasn't woken up yet.

Mine wakes up before I do. I'm having a ham and Swiss cheese omelette.

Will I get you one? No, I... I'm not hungry.

What about blueberries? Coffee?

No, thank you.

If you want to help yourself to breakfast, we have two buffets, hot and cold.

I know. She's just told me. Fresh fruit, cereal, omelettes with your choice of filling.

I know what's on display. We also have pancakes.

Thank you. Trying to have a private conversation.

My apologies, sir.

There's no need to be rude. She's a very nice person.

I know. I'm sure she's one in a million, or one in a hundred thousand.

What do you mean? You've said it to about ten people, so that's just maths.

You should be nice to the people on the way up cos you might meet them again on the way down.

Now, you of all people should understand that.

I'd rather you were rude to me than the nice people who work here.

Well, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to help you find your son.

That's why we're here. So...

Can I have some quiet time?

Were you born in Mexico? I'm from Chihuahua.

You must like nachos. My granddaughter Natalie got me into them.

I've never been to Mexico, but I believe it's lovely, apart from the kidnappings.




Oh. Er...

There you go. PHILOMENA: Thank you.

They've run out of blueberries so I got you raspberries instead.

I'm sorry. Is it a quiet time?

That's my Anthony.

He's dead, isn't he?

Yes. I'm sorry.



I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry.


He's dead. - Who's dead?

The son. He died eight years ago.

Oh, dear. And what did he die of?

I don't know. I didn't find out.

I'm at the airport. You're at the airport?

Well, she just wants to get back, be with her daughter.

- What about the story? Well, he's dead.

Dead or alive, happy or sad.

They're both good. Spin it. Find a story.

Look, if I stay here and she goes home, no one's going to answer my questions.

Then keep her there.


Come on, she's in bits. It's like she's lost him all over again.

That's great. Write that line down.

You signed a contract. You serious?

Yes. Call me when you've got something.


Sorry, that was my editor.

I suppose you'll have to use the not-so-happy-photo now?

Yes. I suppose so.

I remember that day at the fair.

His father made me laugh by pretending to be an old man.

And I made him laugh by pretending to be an old woman.

And now I am one.

I'll never know if Anthony ever even thought about me.

And I'll never be able to say sorry.

We start boarding in about an hour.

Tell me, Martin, do we have what they call flexible tickets?

Yes, I think so.

Where you can change your flight if you change your plans?

Yes, but...

Supposing we didn't get on the aeroplane tonight?

Because I've been sitting here waiting for a sign, and I haven't had one.

And so I've made the decision myself and I'd like to stay a little longer.

Well, if that's what you want to do?

It is.

I'd like to talk to someone who actually met him.

All right, then we'll stay.


I've been sent a picture of Anthony, if you want to see it.


Yes, please. With President Reagan.

It's from a woman we could meet tomorrow...

...called Marcia Weller.

She's an ex-colleague of Anthony's. He looks very smart.

Now, would you like a drink? Brandy, isn't it?

They're all gone.

Martin. This man looks just like you.

It is me.

Michael Hess.

I met him. Where?

At the White House. Dear God!

About ten years ago when I was with the BBC.

What was he like? I can't remember.

It was a Republican thing. You must remember something.

He was by the door when we went... I shook hands with him.

Well, what kind of a handshake did he have?

It was firm. I mean, I would remember if he'd had a weak handshake.

You don't get to that position with a weak handshake.

So he had a firm handshake, what else?

He was smart. I always kept him smart.

And did you remember anything he said?

"Hello." "Hello. Hello."

Might've been "hi".

"Hello." He was polite.

Well... Now, well, he was smart, and he had a firm handshake.

He said hello, which was nice. He said hello. Hello.

He was polite. Oh, Martin!

I...knew your son for about ten years.

He was senior legal counsel to both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

He didn't do too badly, did he, Philomena?

He'd never have got a job like that if he'd stayed with me.

I think he'd have worked at McEverleys.

That's a firm of solicitors in Castlebar.

Did he ever mention Ireland, Marcia?

I don't think so.

Although I do have a number for his sister, Mary, who came over from Ireland with him. Great.

I can put you in touch. Great, that's excellent.

He looks very happy here.

Who's this fella?

That's his friend Pete.

And were you his girlfriend, Marcia? Oh... (CHUCKLES) No.

I don't know if you knew, but he was gay.

I used to accompany him when he'd go to official functions because being gay was frowned on in the Republican Party.

But he was very charming and charismatic.

Tell me, did he father any children?

Philomena, Marcia's just told us that Anthony was gay.

Well, I always knew that. But I just wondered if he might be bi-curious.

Bi-curious? A lot of nurses I worked with were gay but one of them called Brendan told me he was bi-curious.

I don't think he could make up his mind, Marcia.

He didn't have any children. I'm sorry.

Did Pete love him?

Yes, he did.

Phil, how did you know he was gay?

Well, he was a very sensitive little boy.

And as the years rolled on, I always wondered whether he might be.

When I saw the photograph of him in the dungarees, there was no doubt in my mind.


Peter, what do you think?

I think she's in a bad mood. She's kind of got crabby today, huh?

Unlike you.

Why did you keep this a secret for 50 years?

What I'd done was a sin and I kept it all hidden away.

And then I thought to myself that keeping it all hidden away was also a sin because I was lying to everybody.

And as it went on I tied myself up in knots, worrying which was the worse sin of the two, having the baby or the lying.

Well, in the end, I couldn't make up my mind, Martin.

I was going to ask you, Martin, if it'd be possible not to use my real name when you write the story?

Perhaps you could call me Nancy? I've always loved that name, Nancy.

I have a niece called Nancy.

Oh, no, maybe they'd think it's her.

What about Anne? Anne Boleyn? Anne Boleyn?

That's a lovely name. Somebody had that...

We'll have to use your real name, Philomena. That's the way these things work.

Mary? Yes.

Hello, it's Martin. This is Philomena Lee. Anthony's mother.

Well, Michael's mother.


That's our mother.

I mean, our adoptive mother.

Was she a nice lady, Mary? She looks a nice lady.

You know, I'm not gonna lie to you. We didn't have the happiest childhood.

Marge was OK, but our father, Doc, he could be a very hard man.


Stop torturing her!

And that's him with Pete Olsson.

Mike and Pete were...

That's all right, Mary. I know Anthony was a gay homosexual.

And we met Marcia, who I believe was his beard. Is that right, Martin?

Yes, that's about right.

It must have been terrible, having to keep it a secret his whole life.

I assume my son died from AIDS. Yes.

He wasn't too happy the last couple of years of his life working for Reagan.

He was pretty messed up about it.

The Republicans withdrew funding for AIDS research because they blamed the epidemic on gay lifestyles.

Right, because some of them wouldn't wear condoms because they said it spoilt the feeling.

Where is he buried, Mary?

Dad wanted him buried in the family plot in St Louis, but Pete wouldn't allow it.

There was a huge fight.

I didn't go in the end. I didn't want to get involved.

You can talk to Pete about it. Yes, we have Pete's number.

I think we're going to pay him a visit, aren't we, Philomena?


Can I just ask you one thing, Mary? There's something I need to know.

Did Anthony ever mention Ireland, or where he'd come from?

Not really, no. We didn't really talk about that.

No. Why would you?

Do you want some sugar, or some milk? If you wouldn't mind.

Thank you very much for your hospitality.


It seems odd that she was in the same room as someone who knew her mother, and yet she asked you no questions about her.

I don't think it's odd.

She'd just be asking questions about someone she didn't know.

I'd like to go to confession. We passed a church on the way here.

Why do you want to go to confession?

To confess my sins, of course.

What sins?

The Catholic Church should go to confession, not you.

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

I incarcerated a load of young women against their will, used them as slave labour, then sold their babies to the highest bidder."

I hope God isn't listening to you.

Well, I don't believe in God. So, look, no thunderbolt.

What are you trying to prove?

Nothing, just that you don't need religion to lead a happy and balanced life.

And you're happy and balanced, are you?

I'm a journalist, Philomena. We ask questions.

We don't believe something just because we're told it's the truth.

Yet what does the Bible say? "Happy are those who do not see yet believe."

Hooray for blind faith and ignorance.

And what do you believe in? Picking holes in everyone else and being a smart aleck?

Taking photos whenever you like?

I read a very funny headline in a satirical newspaper the other day, about the earthquake in Turkey.

It said, "God outdoes terrorists yet again."

Why God feels the need to suddenly wipe out hundreds of thousands of innocent people escapes me.

You should ask Him about that while you're in there.

He'll probably say He moves in mysterious ways.

No, I think He'd say you we're a feckin' eejit.



- Oh, hello. Hi, Sally.

- What have you got? Guess what.

He was a big-shot lawyer for both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

You're kidding. That's amazing!

And at the same time he was a closet homosexual who died of AIDS.

Oh... This is perfect for the weekend section.

And... I met him.

You knew him? Yeah.

So there's a personal angle? - Yeah, that's one of the angles.

But people need to know what happened to him. There's a real injustice here.

What about the evil nuns? What's happening with them?

Still there. They haven't gone away. If anything, they're a bit more evil.

It's great, Martin.

I'll call you back in a bit.

Speak up now, dear. Don't be afraid.


Have faith, my dear. God will forgive you.

Phil? Phil, you were right. I was being a feckin' eejit.

And I'm sorry... I was doing some thinking in there.

I'm going to get a loan from the Bradford and Bigley, Martin.

Bingley. Because I don't have a mortgage.

And you can get an extension for £10,000.

My friend Rene did that. She had a conservatory built.

Well, I don't need a conservatory.

So I can give you all the money and then...

And then that'll cover the costs of the hotels and all the flights and everything and you won't be out-of-pocket, and you won't publish the story cos I don't want it published.

I don't want anyone to know about this, ever.

Phil, you've done nothing wrong. You're entitled to know who your son was.

Well, you heard what Mary said.

She said he never gave me a second thought.

He wasn't my Anthony, he was somebody else's Michael.

He probably hated the thought of me. You don't know that.

I should never have let him out of my sight.

We just need to talk to Pete Olsson.

(RINGING TONE) - Can I help you?

Hello. I'm trying to set up a meeting with Pete Olsson.

- I believe you've called before, sir. Yes. I've called a couple of times and no one's calling me back.

I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall.

We have explained Mr Olsson is too busy to deal with this matter.

Yes, yes. - So, I am unable to put you through...

Right, but I think if you give me his personal number, I think he'll be OK with that, I do.

- I can't give out personal numbers. I know.

But I don't understand why he won't meet with Philomena for just an hour.

- Thank you. Goodbye. I mean, it's not a...


Philomena? You all right?


I'm sorry, sir, there's no answer.

Well, she wouldn't have gone anywhere by herself.

It's probably nothing, but she's very old and Irish.

And she's a relative? I can't let you in unless she's a relative.

Yes, she's my mother.


Phil? Mum?



There you are! What's the matter?

I wondered where you were. Is your mother OK now?

Yes, thank you. OK, sir.

I had to say that to get him to let me in.

You shouldn't have the balcony door shut if you can't hear the door to your room.

I was just having a little cry, that's all.


Are you going to come back inside?

You didn't think I was going to jump off the balcony?

No, of course not.

Did you get through to Pete Olsson?

Just to his office. He wasn't there.

He doesn't want to see me, does he?

Some people have a problem dealing with the past.

Not you, though. But I'm sure he'll come round.

Your chariot awaits.

I got it in yellow.

Now, Martin, there's something I want to say to you.

Now I've made a decision and my mind's made up.

Nothing you can say is going to change it.

I appreciate everything you've done for me, and thank you for looking after me.

And I've loved the hotels, the food and everything, but this isn't working out the way I wanted it to.

So, tomorrow I think we ought to get on a plane and go back to England.

There it is. Now that's an end to it.

Don't try and change my mind by saying clever things about this and that just cos you went to Oxbridge and I didn't.

I went to Oxford. Oxford.

Oxbridge is a portmanteau of Oxford and Cambridge, where two words are joined together. I don't give a... shiny shoe about that.

It's all the same to me! We should go and visit Pete Olsson.

You can go on your own! I'm not prepared to go all that way to hear someone else tell me I didn't give two hoots about Anthony and that I abandoned my child and all the rest of it.

What's that?

What? On the side of the glass there.

What? What's... There. This.

It's a Celtic harp.

So we should go home. I'll mind my own business.

I want to watch David Attenborough on television and I'll be happy with that.

And what's that?

That's a Celtic harp.

Why would someone who cared so little about where he came from wear something so Irish?

Well, perhaps he played the harp. He was gay.

He didn't play the harp.

Well, there it is.


I could never have given him a life like this.

Oh, look, Martin, a little red Mazda.


That's him.

That's Pete Olsson.

See you.

What do we do now?

We doorstep him. What's that?

It's what nasty journalists do when they want to speak to someone who doesn't want to speak to them.

This shouldn't take long.


Peter Olsson. Yes?

I'm Martin Sixsmith. I'm here with Philomena Lee, the mother of your late partner Michael Hess.


Can I just ask you one question?

Can you get your foot out of my door?

Come on.

Hello. Hello?

Sir, you can leave or I'm calling the police.


I'm sorry, I haven't been very helpful.

Never mind. At least you tried.

What are you doing?

Wait here.


(DOOR UNLOCKING) Yeah, get off my property or I'm...

I just want to talk to you about my son.

He was taken from me. And I've been looking for him ever since.





Would you look at him, Martin.

Wait. What?


What? What's wrong?

You went to Ireland? You went to Roscrea?

Yeah. Yeah, I took him.

He was looking for you, Philomena.

That nun, I saw her at Roscrea. Sister Hildegarde.

She's older now but that was definitely her.

They always told me they didn't know where Anthony was.

But... they... they told us that they couldn't find you.

They said that you had er... abandoned him as a baby.

She's been looking for him! She's spent her whole life trying to find him.

I did not abandon my child.

He's er... He's there now.

What do you mean? I had this huge standoff with his... father.

He wanted him buried in the US, but it was your son's dying wish.

He said he wanted to go home.

He's buried at Roscrea.



We've come full circle.


The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

That's lovely, Martin. Did you just think of that?

No, it's TS Eliot.

Well, never mind. It's still very nice.

Shall we go in?

You're not going to make a scene in there, are you?

I just want to ask a few questions.

I don't want any tea, and I don't want any cake.


Do come in, Philomena. Thank you.

Sister Claire's asked if you can wait in here for her.

Now remember, Martin. It's not their fault.

They didn't know Anthony had a different name.


One of them did.


Goodbye, Sister. See you at Mass, bright and early.

Excuse me. What are you doing? You're not allowed in here.

He just walked straight in. This is completely inappropriate behaviour!

Sister Hildegarde, it's OK, I'm not going to hurt you.

I just want to ask you a question. I'm a friend of Philomena Lee.

I saw you on a video with her son.

Now, when you knew they were looking for each other, why did you keep them apart? (KEY IN LOCK)

We'll call the guards unless you leave now.

I'm not leaving until she answers me.

I'm sorry, I think your whole manner is absolutely disgusting.

I'll tell you what's disgusting, is lying to a dying man.

You could have given him a few moments with his mother before he passed away but you chose not to.

That's disgusting. Come on, Sister.

You don't have to listen to this.

Not very Christian, is it? Wait!

Let me tell you something.

I have kept my vow of chastity my whole life.

Self-denial and mortification of the flesh... that's what brings us closer to God.

Sister Hildegarde...

Those girls have nobody to blame but themselves, and their own carnal incontinence.

Sister Hildegarde, please!

You mean they had sex?

What's done is done. What do you expect us to do about it now?


There's nothing to be done or said.

I've found my son. That's what I came here for.

Martin. Hang on. I'll tell you what you can do.

Say sorry. How about that? Apologise. Stop trying to cover things up.

Get out there and clear all the weeds and crap off the graves of the mothers and babies that died in childbirth.

Their suffering was atonement for their sins.

One of the mothers was 14 years old! Martin, that's enough.

The Lord Jesus Christ will be my judge, not the likes of you.

Really? I think if Jesus was here, he'd tip you out of that fucking wheelchair and you wouldn't get up and walk. Stop! Stop! I'm sorry.

I didn't want to bring him in here to make a scene.

Why are you apologising? Anthony was dying and she still wouldn't tell him about you.

But it happened to me. Not you.

It's up to me what I do about it. It's my choice.

So, what? You're just going to do nothing?


Sister Hildegarde...

I want you to know... that I forgive you.

What? Just like that?

It's not just like that. That's hard. That's hard for me.

But I don't want to hate people.

I don't want to be like you.

Look at you.

I'm angry.

It must be exhausting.

Sister Claire, I wonder would you be so kind as to take me to my son's grave.


I couldn't forgive you.


It's all right. I've calmed down.

I just want to buy something.

He knew I'd find him here.

I'm not going to publish the story.

It's between you and him.

I got you something.

Oh, Martin.

Thank you.

You know, I just decided... I did want you to tell my story after all.

People should know what happened here.

Did I tell you, Martin, I've finished that book? The Saddle And The Loom.

Would you like to read it? Erm...

Why don't you tell me about it?

(ENGINE STARTS) Well... there's this weaver.

She's quite plain really. Well, she's pretty but she's plain.

I like plain girls.

Yes, well, and she's been told that she has to work all through the night, to weave a beautiful cloak, of the finest silk for the master to wear on his wedding day.

So in the morning she shows him the cloak and she asks him, "What do you think, kind sir?"

And he says, "it's beautiful.

I've never seen anything more beautiful in my whole life."

But guess what? He's not even looking at the cloak.

He's looking at her! (CHUCKLES)

Well, I didn't see that coming, Martin. Not in a million years.