Interview: Steve Coogan Talks Nonfiction Drama ‘Philomena’ and Altering Fact for Greater Truth


What does it mean for a movie to be “based on a true story”? In the case of Philomena, it means borrowing real events and people and reworking them to fit a thematic narrative. Often that infusion of fiction and dramatization brings about a greater truth, and in this new release that greater truth being communicated is that there is still room for sincerity and love in this cynical, post-modern world.

Adapted from Martin Sixsmith‘s nonfiction book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee — or really just adapted from the epilogue — Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s award-winning script takes great artistic license with its source material, and that’s okay. The movie, directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), is an intelligent, funny, well-acted and honest, if not always factually accurate, account of a journalist (Coogan, as Sixsmith) and an older woman (Dame Judi Dench) investigating what became of the son that was taken from her 50 years earlier by Catholic nuns.


Nonfics.com is the sister site of Film School Rejects focused on the world of non-fiction. From reality television to documentary movies and everything in between, if you love the stories of the real world, it's a site built for you.

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