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Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,125 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 44 user | 67 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunites the children involved -- now adults living mostly in Australia -- with their parents in Britain.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Humphreys
...
Susie
Stuart Wolfenden ...
Bill
...
Nicky
Federay Holmes ...
Charlotte
...
Merv
Molly Windsor ...
Rachel
Harvey Scrimshaw ...
Ben
Tammy Wakefield ...
Susan
...
Australia House Official (as Alastair Cummings)
Kate Rutter ...
Vera
...
Jack
Marg Downey ...
Miss Hutchison
Geoff Revell ...
Syd
Chrissie Page ...
Betty
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Storyline

Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunites the children involved -- now adults living mostly in Australia -- with their parents in Britain.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Thousands of lost children. A secret buried by time. One woman will bring the truth to light. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Laranjas e Sol  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Margaret Humphreys: So right now your baby needs to be safe, and you need a bit of support, don't you? I know you care, of course you do. But this will give you a chance to sort yourself out.
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Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.17 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Wild World
Written and performed by Cat Stevens
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd
Courtesy of Universal Music Operations Ltd
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
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User Reviews

 
'Thousands of lost children. A secret buried by time. One woman will bring the truth to light.'
4 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is always a jolt when a bit of buried history surfaces and makes us realize that the world is not all that sane as we would like to believe: the Chaos Factor raises its ugly head as in this screen adaptation by Rona Munro of Margaret Humphreys' true story book 'Empty Cradles'. This is a very powerful film, all the more so because of the quality of acting and direction by Jim Loach who never lets the film run out of control despite the unveiling tragedy.

The story is set in the 1980s where Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) is a social worker who encounters a middle aged woman who has traveled form Australia to find her birth parents. Margaret at first doesn't want to increase her workload with a wild tale of children having been deported form England by ship to be placed in orphanage work camps in Australia, but with the aid of her supportive husband Merv (Richard Dillane) she begins to investigate the uncovered secret, ultimately traveling to Australia where she meets the 'unwanted children' as adults each longing to return to the UK to meet their families. The children when deported were as young as four to thirteen years old and had been told their parents either were dead or didn't want them and the representatives from the government promised them a safe home with 'oranges and sunshine' in Australia. There are several 'victims' as played by Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Russell Dykstra and others who help personalize the unspoken crime until Margaret progresses to the point where she can hold the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunite the children involved -- now adults living mostly in Australia -- with their parents in Britain. Though the deportations occurred from the 1940's through the 1970's it was only after Margaret Humphrey's 1994 book and then much later after when February 2010 Great Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally issued a full apology to those deported children and their families.

The supporting cast is uniformly excellent but it is the glowing performance by Emily Watson that makes this revelation of a film remain in the mind long after the credits explain how the solution played out in reality. This is a tough film but an important one and deserves a much larger audience than it has found.

Grady Harp


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