Based on a true story, Philomena charts the story of an old woman trying to find her son - who was "adopted" against her wishes about 50 years back, together with the help of a journalist/ex-spin doctor - who initially has no interest in "human interest" stories.
The adoption of Anthony is itself a story of effectively human trafficking. Philomena, a poor and unsophisticated Irish girl falls pregnant, and the catholic nuns effectively force her to do uncompensated hard labour for "taking care" of her and her son; who is then effectively sold to an American couple for adoption.
Philomena's search has a bitter sweet ending; but beyond the ethical questions regarding adoption; Judy Dench's amazing portrayal of Philomena also challenges some very fundamental stereotypes of "simple folk" - that they were fooled into doing things; or that they are anti-gay etc. It is a profound story that features excellent acting, and a very sad story on the dark side of adoption.