Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 15+
Smart, wrenching, deeply moving drama fine for older teens.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Philomena is a moving, gracefully filmed drama that's somewhat teen-friendly, though younger teens may find the subjects -- teen pregnancy resulting in a traumatic stay at a nunnery, deep religious guilt, death from AIDS, abandonment, and guilt -- quite heavy. Expect some infrequent swearing, including one "f--k."
- Families can talk about why Philomena kept her story for so long and why she decided to share it decades later. Why does she respond to the nuns the way she chooses to in the end? What is the ultimate message of the movie?
- Does the film shed light on any real-life injustices you didn't know about before? What do you think of what happened to Philomena?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Guilt will devour you if you let it. Instead, consider forgiving yourself, which can lead you to forgive others who have wronged you. Also, persistence pays off. And there is always an option for a second (or third) act in life.
Positive role models: Philomena is an interesting lead, harboring a secret she finds shameful but still giving, honest, inquisitive, adventurous, and, important considering the situation, brave. Martin may be more cagey and cynical, but in the end, he acts out of a generosity in spirit.
What to watch for
Violence: Some scenes of a teenager being held down brusquely while giving birth, spoken to by nuns who are ostensibly helping her with little compassion.
Sexy stuff: References to a girl meeting a boy at a fair and having sex, but we see nothing more than kissing in flashbacks. A brief discussion about female genitals, bisexuality, and homosexuality.
Language: Some choice words, including "s--t" and "f--k," though they're used rarely.
Consumerism: A Sony Vaio is prominently displayed in one scene, a Guinness in another. Also, a discussion about BMW cars (the logo is also visible) as well as a Mazda.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Fairly frequent drinking, usually beer but also hard liquor, in pubs and parties.