Like her friend and frequent costar Dame Maggie Smith, accomplished thespian Judi Dench just gets better with age. In Philomena, the new British comedy-drama directed by Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons), Dame Judi portrays the real-life woman who teams with a journalist (Steve Coogan) to track down the son she was forced to give up for adoption as an unmarried Catholic teen.
In the clip above, Philomena discovers her long-lost son was gay — and a Republican. Before you complain about spoilers, note that this plot point isn’t a surprise. It’s mentioned in the reviews from the U.K. where it opened last week and the film is based on the acclaimed 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith titled The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. The thrill of the movie comes in watching the simple Philomena embark on an emotional journey that will leave her forever changed. As the title character, the masterful Dench (who is currently waging a battle to get the film’s R rating changed) offers her most finely-modulated performance since playing the sinister lesbian Barbara in the 2006 drama Notes on a Scandal.
Philomena will open in select U.S. theaters Nov. 22 before going wide Nov. 27.