Real-Life Philomena Is a Class Act


The new Judi Dench/Steve Coogan film Philomena receives accolades wherever it screens, and the story gets sweeter with the real-life woman behind Dench’s character. Philomena Lee (pictured above with Dame Judi) recently popped up in the L.A. Times, exuding every bit of loveliness you’d want from an 80-year-old Irish woman experiencing her life play out on the silver screen.

It can’t be an easy story to relive — Lee was forced to give up her young son as a young unmarried girl, and 50 years later teamed up with journalist Martin Sixsmith (played by Coogan) to discover his fate. Here are a few highlights from the interview, in which she comes off as quite the Dame herself.

On coming forward with her story:

“I said to Martin at the time, there are so many people like myself in Ireland, I was hoping that in telling my story I’d help them.”

“…now it’s being debated so much in Ireland, everybody is coming out and talking about it. I feel as if I may have encouraged other women to trace their families.”

On Steve Coogan’s brand of comedy:

“Oh, I know him…But he’s more a younger people’s thing…I like the older-type comedy.”

On being portrayed by the incomparable Judi Dench:

“Oh, what can I say about that one? I could not believe it.  A lady like that playing little old me…And just such a lovely lady.”

Check out the rest of the interview from the LA Times and look for Philomena currently in limited release and in theaters nationwide November 27.