"Philomena" is based on Martin Sixsmith's non-fiction book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee," about a young woman who was sent to a convent in Ireland after giving birth to a child out of wedlock. The teenage Philomena (Sophie Kennedy Clark) is forced to work long hours in the convent laundry and is allowed to see her son Anthony only an hour a day. She is also forced to sign a contract in which she agrees never to pursue her son, who is sold to an American couple as Philomena looks on in anguish. Years later, the elderly Philomena (Judi Dench) meets an unemployed journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), and sets off with him to America to find her child in a journey that uncovers scandalous revelations. Philomena's religiosity and love of romance novels are contrasted with Martin's atheism and cynicism, but the movie avoids excessive sentimentality, respects both their perspectives and movingly conveys their journey.