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Philomena [2013] [PG-13] - 3.3.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Based on the novel "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee": A cynical journalist (Steve Coogan) follows a woman (Judi Dench) to the US where she's searching for her son -- taken away from her decades earlier when she was in an Irish convent as a pregnant teenager. Also with Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham and Barbara Jefford. Directed by Stephen Frears. [1:38]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - An older woman has a flashback of herself as a teen, kissing a teen boy passionately and we then see the teen girl pregnant as two nuns ask her if she had allowed a teen boy to have sex with her, and if she "dropped her knickers." We see a video of two men kissing multiple times. We see a man kissing another man briefly. A teen boy and teen girl kiss. A toddler boy and girl kiss playfully. A man kisses another man on the forehead.
 An elderly woman angrily tells a man that pregnant teenage girls in her care would deserve any injury or death they had coming, as repentance for having sex out of wedlock; the woman then remarks that she maintained a lifetime of celibacy. An older woman remarks that people would avoid using condoms because they "lose the feel." An older woman tells a man that she enjoyed having sex when she was a teenager. A man poses a question to an older woman about why it is sinful to enjoy sex even if God had created the ability for sex to feel good.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A teen girl screams in pain while delivering a breech baby; she cries and we see an older woman telling another woman that the girl cannot have pain medication during birth to repent for her sins of having had sex out of wedlock.
 A teen girl throws herself against a gate, screaming and crying as she watches her son being taken away.
 A man shoves his way through a room and begins to shout angrily at an older woman; an older man shouts at the man and tells him that his behavior was "highly inappropriate"; after arguing with the elderly woman for some time, the man tells her that he believes Jesus would tip over her wheelchair.
 An older woman visits the headstone of her deceased son. A man looks at a series of head markers in a cemetery and lingers over one that says the person had died at age 14.
 A woman shouts at her three children, telling one of them to "stop torturing her" (referring to the younger girl). A man chides a group of people for not telling a dying person about his mother, whom he had been forcefully separated from as a toddler. An older woman has a flashback of herself as a teen being chided by two nuns after becoming pregnant (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 An older woman's voiceover explains that her father had abandoned her as a pregnant teen and told her family that she had died. A man tells an older woman that her son, who had been taken from her as a baby, had died. An older woman and a woman discuss how a teen girl's mother had died 10 years earlier. An older woman tells a man that a nun that had taken her child had died years earlier. A woman tells a man that her mother had given birth to a breech baby without pain medication. An older woman tells a man that multiple teen girls and their children had died while they were giving birth in a convent. A man asks a woman which of two women had died in a car crash and the woman does not respond. A man reads an article about a man having died. An older woman tells a man that she has visions of her son (taken from her as a child) as being homeless. An older woman tells a man that she worries that her son who had been taken from her was in prison, or a drug addict, or had been in a war and had both legs "blown off." An older woman jokingly tells a man that another man needs his face given a "good swat."
 A doctor tells a man that his stool sample is "outstanding" and when the man looks surprised the doctor explains that it's not because his feces smells good, but because the man had not given a sample.

PROFANITY 5 - 2 F-words, 2 implied F-words (feck), 2 scatological terms (1 mild), 1 implied scatological term (shhh-shiny shoes), 1 mild anatomical term, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (duffer, hobo, daft, as vain as you like, as dumb as dishwater, spin doctor, obese, huge, blind and ignorant, smart-aleck), 2 religious exclamations (God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A group of men and women drink wine at a party, an older woman drinks sherry rapidly, a man drinks beer on multiple occasions, a man is seen pouring small bottles of liquor into a cup and he drinks from the cup, and a teen boy holds a beer at a carnival.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Forced adoption, AIDS, international adoption, teenage pregnancy, condemnation, Catholicism, guilt, dishonesty, judgment.

MESSAGE - Faith is a very important support system, but judgment can be very difficult.

Note: A short before the film contains the following: 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (wicked witches), a woman wearing extremely short shorts while dancing suggestively on a table in front of a group of people, we see a portion of a young woman's bare abdomen as she lays on a table and stares seductively at an older man, a portion of a woman's bare abdomen is seen as she dances and a woman sits in a man's lap.

Special Keywords: S3 - V3 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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