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'Philomena' DVD Brings Real Philomena To New Audiences

Apr 15, 2014

Today, the DVD of the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena” is being released. One of the special features contained on the DVD is an interview with the real Philomena Lee. Her life story of being forced to give up her son for adoption and her long search for him inspired the film.

We spoke with Philomena and her daughter Jane Libberton, who helped Philomena with her search, back when the film was in theaters, and today we revisit that conversation.

[Youtube]

Guests

  • Philomena Lee, her life inspired the film “Philomena.”
  • Jane Libberton, daughter of Philomena Lee.
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ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

It's HERE AND NOW.

The Oscar-nominated film "Philomena" comes out on DVD today, a perfect tearjerker to watch in the privacy of your home. You've no doubt heard this story. Dame Judi Dench stars as Philomena, an Irish woman who became pregnant as a naive teenager and was sent to one of Ireland's mother and baby homes where Catholic nuns took her son when he was 3 and gave him to an American family. The film follows Philomena as her search for him takes her to the U.S. accompanied by a journalist played by Steve Coogan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "PHILOMENA")

YOUNG: Now, that's a funny line. But the story on which the film is based is heart-wrenching. Philomena Lee gave birth to her son Anthony at Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, County Tipperary, when she was just 18. Her real-life search never took her to America, and there wasn't any laughter in it. It turns out Philomena's son was looking for her as well. Like two blind people feeling their way around the world, they never touched. He died of AIDS before they could.

On the DVD, you can meet the real-life Philomena Lee. An interview with her is one of the features. But we got a chance to speak with her and her daughter Jane Libberton earlier this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

YOUNG: And we spoke to Philomena Lee and Jane Libberton in January. "Philomena" comes out on DVD today.

HERE AND NOW is a production of NPR and WBUR Boston in association with the BBC World Service. I'm Robin Young.

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.