The Editing Room - Abridged Scripts for Movies

Welcome to The Editing Room, home of the original Abridged Script. What's an Abridged Script, you ask? Think of them like Cliff's Notes for popular movies, except that Cliff is an asshole because he thinks your favorite movie sucks.

"No, we didn't wander into yet another Planet of the Apes, that's just how Lincoln looks."
Philomena

PHILOMENA

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. IRISH BITCHBORO CHURCH - 50 YEARS AGO

YOUNG JUDI DENCH, pregnant, gets chewed out by NUNS.

SISTER BITCHY MCBITCHERSON

You disgusting sinner! How could you?

YOUNG JUDI

I'm a poor, uneducated girl with a dead mother who only wants to do what's right, please help me find God and-

SISTER REBITCHA BITCHERS

SHAAAAAAME! Welcome to our abbey, where we will work you for years and give you no education! Time to sell your child away forever, you whore!

YOUNG JUDI

But- AUGH I'M GOING INTO LABOR!

SISTER BITCHEROO BITCHFACE

Praise Jesus! Or he'll murder you in childbirth, which you deserve! We've let multitudes of girls die before you and let weeds take over their graves! God commands it!

YOUNG JUDI

IT HURTS! Please tell me you have basic childbirth knowledge-

SISTER PUTE PERRA SCHLAMPE

Oh, that we do have. All nuns in our abbey are required to watch Alien at least twice. THE REST IS IN GOD'S HANDS!

YOUNG JUDI

What will you teach us about health? For example, when I'm later on my period, you'll say-

MOTHER BITCHBODY BITCHSMITH

PRAY HARDER, YOU WASTREL! PRAY TO GOD! HE THINKS YOU ARE DISGUSTING AND DESERVE TO ROT! Oh look someone took your son and YOU CAN NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN, AHAHAHAHAHA! Ooh, God has willed us to get lots of cash from your child's rich new parents!

YOUNG JUDI

(sobs)

There is a tragic MOTHER-SON SEPARATION SCENE, instantly making all sons who took their mothers to see this movie regret it as they are smothered in TEARFUL HUGS.

INT. IRELAND (PRESENT)

JUDI DENCH meets reporter STEVE COOGAN and displays social skills too terrible to mock without feeling like a horrible, horrible person.

JUDI DENCH

Good sir, I'm searching for my son who was taken away from me, will you-

STEVE COOGAN

Not interested, fuck off.

(two seconds pass)

OkayIChangedMyMind! Maybe this story can revive my failing career. I'll portray the nuns as the heartless bitches they-

JUDI DENCH

No, no, you can't give religion a bad name! I won't hear it, I am a devout Catholic!

STEVE COOGAN

I'm an atheist. You should try that out some time.

JUDI DENCH

No, no, no! Atheism is something awful, the reason you're so staunch and miserable, there's no way someone can be an atheist and HAPPY, at like, THE SAME TIME, what nonsense is that?

(pause)

Look, Catholic audiences are already rearing to walk out of the theater. At least pretend to play fair.

STEVE COOGAN

Ooh, I get it, the same way movies with Muslims play fair.

INT. BITCHBORO ABBEY

JUDI and STEVE talk to nuns of VARYING DEGREES OF BITCHINESS.

SUBTLE, MANIPULATIVE BITCH

Here's the contract we strongly suggested you signed saying you'll never try to find your son.

JUDI DENCH

But look at how sweet and desperate I am. May I see the adoption records?

SPORADIC BITCH

Um, oh look those records got burned in a fire. Whoopsi-daisie!

STEVE COOGAN

Yeeeeaaah. Would you mind if we examined your septic tank? I hear Irish abbeys have, uh, peculiar contents inside those.

REGULAR OLD BITCH

Oh no. We are NOT going there. Though we'd have rocketed to the top of Oscar lists if we did, I'm sure.

Dejected, JUDI and STEVE head to a DEJECTION BAR.

STEVE COOGAN

I'm sorry, Phillahm- Phylominn- Phylo- Phlemy- Okay, hold on-

(clears throat)

Phronima. I'm sorry I couldn't take advantage of your sufferings to write a career-boosting story.

BARTENDER

Hey, I happen to know the nuns had a bonfire with all the records of children sold to Americans, before roasting smores and clogging their naughty holes with marshmallows. Nuns are the epitome of evil, because whoever heard of a nice nun, right?

JUDI DENCH

Nice nuns, happy atheists... Suspension of disbelief only goes so far, okay dear?

STEVE COOGAN

Ohhh, we COULD bring up real-life problems of child abuse in similar abbeys, but we're trying to go for mass appeal by diluting the message.

BARTENDER

Mass appeal? You think anyone would've heard of this movie if it weren't for the 2013 Academy Awards? You were the "December Drama filling up a Slot" movie.

STEVE COOGAN

Eh, better than "That Other Film You Know is on the List of Best Picture Nominees but Can't Remember What it Is," or Nebraska.

They head to AMERICA.

EXT. WASHINGTON D.C.

NOT SHREK AND DONKEY, erm, OUR HEROES, get in numerous hilarity-inspiring misunderstandings and wacky scenarios.

JUDI DENCH

Is this a buddy comedy now, dear?

STEVE COOGAN

Um... WowLookIFoundYourSon!

(internetting)

But he's dead. Worse, he was a politician. A Republican politician. I'm so sorry.

JUDI DENCH

Don't fret dear. If we're slamming Republicans, we'll need a good reason. Something contemporary, nice and liberal, preferably easy to take a stance on-

STEVE COOGAN

Your son was GAY! Died of AIDS! And those bastard Republicans made him feel... CONFLICTED about it!

JUDI DENCH

Ah, my son was gay. Well, I always knew that, even when he was like four.

STEVE COOGAN

Excuse me? You knew a four-year-old's sexuality?

JUDI DENCH

(actual fucking line)

He was a very sensitive boy.

STEVE COOGAN

Oh, FUCK OFF. Way to simultaneously discriminate against emotion in men as well as give masculine gays everywhere the finger. But please, tell me more about how this movie supports the gay agenda.

JUDI DENCH

Fine. Name one openly gay movie character who isn't either obsessed with his rejection or a cliché comic stereotype.

STEVE COOGAN

(pause)

Okay you have a point. So what next?

JUDI DENCH

Look! This photo of him has you in the background! You actually met him!

STEVE COOGAN

Boy oh boy, look at that. What a completely pointless and obviously fictional plot contrivance.

JUDI DENCH

Quiet! You're so cynical because you're an ATHEIST! Hear that, Catholics? We'll convert him yet!

STEVE COOGAN

(sighing)

I hate to break it to you, but... my character arc is done. I care about helping you over my own career, completely shifting my values. You aren't going to force religion on me too.

They visit MARE WINNINGHAM, who deserves mention only because her name is MARE WINNINGHAM, and some other people. Then another FICTIONAL BULLSHIT CONTRIVANCE convinces them to call PETER HERMANN, JUDI'S SON'S PARTNER.

STEVE COOGAN

Why didn't we call him immediately?

STEVE repeatedly calls PETER, but PETER won't talk to JUDI because he saw LADIES IN LAVENDER.

STEVE COOGAN

Yes, Ms Secretary, we only want to ease the pain of his mother, if you could give us Peter's personal number-

(runs past White House)

Well, I suppose I could have gotten it from Mare Winningham but-

(runs past Jefferson Memorial)

What? A phone book? Don't be stupid, those things are only myths invented by the Terminator movies, they aren't really-

(runs past cherry blossoms surrounding Washington Monument full of eagles roosting in American flags)

Look, I'm running out of famous D.C. landmarks here. Can I get his home address instead?

EXT. PETER HERMANN'S HOUSE

PETER HERMANN

AUGH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE I'M CALLING THE POLICE I'D RATHER TALK TO 20,000 JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES THAN-

JUDI DENCH

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let us in?

PETER HERMANN

Oh, you're so adorably sweet, I can't say no. That conflict wasn't forced at all.

JUDI DENCH

My God! This archive montage footage shows my son at the Bitchboro Abbey! He's actually buried there, in the plot of Dramatic Concluding Twists! He came looking for me after all!

STEVE COOGAN

What? Why the hell didn't any of the people we talked to mention "Oh, you're his Irish mother, you know he's buried in Ireland"? Every single important person in his life neglected to mention that?

JUDI DENCH

And those dear nuns wouldn't help him find his real mother even as he was dying because their God is a fucking sadist.

(dances gracefully around sensitive topics)

INT. ABBEY

JUDI and STEVE arrive to BITCHSLAP those BITCHES into the BITCH CIRCLE OF HELL!

JUDI DENCH

What? That's not our goal. We're here so Steve can have a-

STEVE COOGAN

NO DAMMIT! I do NOT need a religious epiphany!

(to camera operator)

YOU! Stop rack-focusing to Jesus pictures whenever I'm in the frame!

STEVE confronts the MOTHER OF ALL BITCHES, surely reincarnated as the ALIEN QUEEN.

BITCH QUEEN

Jesus hates those sinful, ignorant girls! They should never, ever have had sex! Procreation is evil!

STEVE COOGAN

(actual line)

I think if Jesus were here, he'd tip you out of that fuckin' wheelchair!

The AUDIENCE is overcome with fantasies of a KICK-ASS JESUS showing up to BEAT THOSE BITCH NUNS LIKE THEY DESERVE, HELL YEAH, GO JESUS! EVERYONE converts to CHRISTIANITY because JESUS is a BADASS WHO DON'T TAKE NO SHIT, proving this movie was PRO-CATHOLIC AFTER ALL.

JUDI DENCH

Nuns, I forgive you. That was hard for me. Honest, it was. Really.

STEVE COOGAN

I hope there's a "Philomena: Quentin Tarantino Version" fanfiction because that would be SO much less of a letdown.

(hands her Jesus statue)

Here, I bought you this to put on your son's grave, so we can pretend God had something positive to do with all this.

JUDI DENCH

Thanks. It was fun at times, hard at others, but we completed the journey full-circle, learning much along the way.

STEVE COOGAN

True.

They stand in silence for a bit.

STEVE COOGAN

So... uh... Cough cough... "TRUE-"

JUDI DENCH

Hmm?

STEVE COOGAN

The true story...

JUDI DENCH

What about it?

STEVE COOGAN

You realize none of our journey ever happened? We never went to America, you didn't meet me until long into the searching process, the final confrontation and roughly 90% of the movie were invented for-

JUDI DENCH

Oh you cynical atheists. There's no reasoning with you, is there?

STEVE COOGAN

(sighs)

Not even one... Goddamn... Oscar...

END

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