Philomena has been released in UK cinemas and is proving to be one of the British film events of the year as critics flock to praise Steve Coogan and Judi Dench's performances in this touching, funny, Stephen Frears-directed drama about a woman on a quest to find her long lost son. Read our 'Philomena' review.

Philomena Judi Dench Steve Coogan
'Philomena' Has Been Festooned With Praise, With The BIFAs The Crowning Moment.

Coogan and Dench are up for best actor and actress categories for their roles at this year's Moet British Independent Film Awards, according to BBC News. The actors will go up against Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan for their roles in Le Week-end.

Watch The 'Philomena' Trailer:

Le Week-end and Philomena will also go head-to-head in the 'Best Film' category with Metro Manila, The Selfish Giant and Starred Up also competing. Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope also get a best screenplay nomination.

Read a Philomena reviews round-up.

Philomena follows the true story of journalist Martin Sixsmith, a once political journalist who reluctantly agrees to follow a new line of 'human-interest' enquiry when a stranger told him that she had a friend with a secret family mystery that needed solving. He was led to Philomena Lee (Dench) with her secret that she'd kept tightly locked away for 50 years: she had a son who she'd never told anyone about.

Why couldn't Dame Judi Dench read the Philomena script?

The reason for her secrecy was the boy's illegitimacy; a sin harshly condemned in strict Catholic 1950s Ireland. Threatened with damnation, Philomena was sent to live with nuns with her baby sent away to America to be adopted by a couple in Missouri. Back in Ireland, Spurred on by the prospects of finding the son in America, Martin and Philomena embark on a heart-warming and at times hilarious quest.

Contact Music's Rich Cline evaluates the film favourably, saying that "director Frears gives the film a gentle, light tone that helps balance the intensely serious subject matter."

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on the 8th December, hosted by actor James Nesbitt, in London.

Steve Coogan & Judi Dench Hit All The Right Notes In 'Philomena.'