Judi-Dench-and-Steve-Coogan-in-PhilomenaHaving finally given Alan Partridge his big screen debut this year in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Steve Coogan will soon be returning to cinemas in altogether different kind of movie, starring opposite Judi Dench in Philomena.

Stephen Frears’ adaptation is set to have its world debut in Venice in a few short weeks, before its North American premiere out in Toronto. And ahead of its festival appearances, Pathé have launched the film’s first trailer.

Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena 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, 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.

Frears is directing from a script Coogan co-wrote with Jeff Pope (Mrs. Biggs), based on the true-story book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, by Martin Sixsmith.

Frears has certainly had a mixed bag of a career, with highs like High Fidelity, Dirty Pretty Things, and The Queen marking a stark contrast to his most recent feature, Lay the Favorite, which wasn’t received well by audiences or critics. It will be very interesting to see how Philomena is received on the festival circuit in the coming weeks.

Philomena is set to be released in the UK on 1st November. No word yet on a US release date, but The Weinstein Company have the rights for this one, and will likely release it later this year or early in the New Year, possibly depending on critics’ reaction in a few weeks’ time.

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