Martin Sixsmith – “Shall we go for a walk? Get rid of the jet lag? You said you wanted to visit the Lincoln Memorial.”
Philomena – “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 just showed some of it on the television and they'll all chasing after him. It looked hilarious, Martin!”
- Philomena, 2013
Philomena kept a secret for fifty years. She then revealed it to her daughter, who searched nonstop for someone to help her mother.
Philomena had a child, a boy, Anthony, in 1952. As she lived with the nuns, they obliged her to work and clean the church every single day, for having that child, but, fortunately, she could see him one hour a day. Until those nuns gave him up for adoption.
Phil’s daughter looked for Martin, who was unemployed, depressed and wasn’t looking for anything like Philomena’s story. He didn’t want to write about an old Irish woman with a titanium hip and a lost child. He just wanted to return to BBC. But after going to the church where she lived , he wanted to help her find her Anthony.
They searched, searched and searched. Martin knew something was wrong, that the nuns were lying. Phil didn’t believe him. She thought their souls were too pure to lie.
Wrong. They were perfectly able to tell the pair that a big fire had destroyed all of the adoption papers and that just the one with her signature, agreeing to all of the nun’s terms, survived in the chaos.
They flew to Washington, saw Mr. Lincoln, had an amazing breakfast, met at least ten one-in-a-million people (or one-in-a-hundred-thousand), discussed about Phil’s reading (“Do you want to read it?” “No, thanks, I feel like I’ve already read this book”) and found out Anthony changed his name to Michael.
Philomena wants to know all about him, but Martin soon discovers he died of Aids eight years earlier. She then gives up everything, and decides to go back home.
But the ex-journalist couldn’t give up on such a story. He continued his search about Michael, and discovers that he had a boyfriend and a really important job at the White House. Philomena, now back in the search for, seems very proud of her little boy, whose last wish was to be buried at the church where his mother lived. It turned out he looked for her, and the nuns said there were no records of Philomena there.
Back in the UK, Martin and Phil return to the church. He explodes of anger when talking to the nun who lied to mother and son. After that, the nun apologizes to Philomena.
Philomena then searches for Michael’s grave, and when she finds it, mother and son are finally reunited.
Apart from the adoption conflict, the movie is a beautiful friendship story, of a middle-aged man and an old lady, each of them of a particular uncommon character. It is a strange pair, you know?
“Well, I didn’t see that coming, not in a million years”
There are improbable pairs everywhere. And there’s the improbable pair of Martin and Phil.