Coogan's searching drama...

As odd couples go, they don’t get much stranger than Judi Dench ’n’ Steve Coogan, which is exactly why Philomena works.

As journo Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) escorts Philomena (Dench) to America in search of the son she gave up 50 years ago, Stephen Frears’ film delivers an expert blend of period drama, buddy comedy and road movie full of heart.

While Dench is predictably magnificent, Coogan’s the real surprise – cynical but sympathetic, and responsible for co-writing the emotionally agile script. Not bad, Mr Partridge.

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