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Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

 -  Drama | History  -  1 April 2011 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,144 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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Drama

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Director: Jim Loach
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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

Runtime:

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

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.16 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Make It with Me
Composer John Moran
Publisher/Label KPM Music
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User Reviews

 
A quietly angry, lightly fictionalized film
15 February 2012 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

A quietly angry, lightly fictionalized film detailing the systematic, organized UK government sanctioned deportation of up to 150,000 children, often as young as three to Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

In case you were under the assumption that this occurred in the dark ages, you would be wrong. The last cases are recorded in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Emily Watson plays Margaret Humphreys the tireless Nottinghamshire social worker, who stumbled across an isolated case and then fought almost single-handedly to undercover the truth. Creating the "Child Migrants" trust by necessity to reunite lost families, sometimes decades later and in many cases too late.

The film is based on the the book "Empty Cradles" written by Humphreys to highlight the plight of the families and children involved and raise much needed funds.

Not only were children sent to countries alien to them, in the majority of cases without parental consent or even with the parents knowledge, many were told incorrectly their parents had died leaving them as orphans. Brothers and sisters were systematically split up and many endured harsh conditions, being treated as slave labour and subject to both mental and in many cases physical and sexual abuse, often at the hands of those supposedly charged with their care and well being.

As in many such cases, the Church and charitable organizations, when confronted with the proof of the neglect they oversaw, denied the charges and repeatedly attempted to frustrate attempts to drag the secret into the light.

Eventually in 2010 the UK Government formally apologised for the migrants treatment, finally acknowledging the mistakes that had been made.

Bearing in mind the shocking truths on display, does the film need to be any good? Directed by small screen veteran Jim Loach, this is a sympathetic account with quality naturalistic acting from all of the cast, in particular Watson and Hugo Weaving an adult sent as a child to Australia for "Sunshine and Oranges". Humphreys long suffering and supportive husband deserves a medal of some description as his wife continues to travel the world putting wrongs right or at least allowing closure, seemingly with little regard for her own safety, mental or physical health.

The film resembles "Magdalene Sisters", all the more effective for the lack of moralizing, preaching and sentimentality, apart from one off key line "You got my Mum for Christmas", the dialogue and acting are pitch perfect.

There are always concerns as to how fictionalized true stories are, certainly the facts are undeniable, all films compress time, alter circumstances and timelines. The most important factor is, does the film capture the spirit and feel, this does just that.

Summary

A stirring, largely truthful re-telling of an important story in our recent past, not an easy watch in parts but well worth the time to be aware of this travesty, compounded by the initial failure of anyone brave enough to take responsibility for what had occurred.

Watson embodies the spirit of Humphreys who quite rightly eventually received recognition for all her efforts.

Recommended

http://julesmoviereviews.blogspot.co.nz/


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