Philomena movie review: Four stars and Oscar talk for Judi Dench

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in the new British film. Photo: Weinstein Company

(WJLA) - Philomena may be, to American film viewers, a smaller-scale British movie, but its opening weekend has movie buffs talking Oscar for its leading lady.

The film, starring the iconic Judi Dench, tells the true-life story of Philomena Lee, an unwed mother in the early 1950s who was forced to give up her son. A half-century later, she enlists a journalist to help her track him down

Dench and Steve Coogan make a mismatched pair; she being simple and unsophisticated while he comes off as cynical and agnostic.

What could have turned into a sentimental tear jerker instead becomes a surprising mystery - a movie that never goes where you expect.

Arch's rating: 4 stars