7.1/10
4,599
52 user 70 critic

Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

R | | Drama, History | 1 April 2011 (UK)
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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.

Director:

Jim Loach

Writers:

Rona Munro, Margaret Humphreys (book)
8 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emily Watson ... Margaret Humphreys
Aisling Loftus ... Susie
Stuart Wolfenden Stuart Wolfenden ... Bill
Lorraine Ashbourne ... Nicky
Federay Holmes Federay Holmes ... Charlotte
Richard Dillane ... Merv
Molly Windsor ... Rachel
Harvey Scrimshaw ... Ben
Tammy Wakefield Tammy Wakefield ... Susan
Alastair G. Cumming ... Australia House Official (as Alastair Cummings)
Kate Rutter Kate Rutter ... Vera
Hugo Weaving ... Jack
Marg Downey Marg Downey ... Miss Hutchison
Geoff Revell Geoff Revell ... Syd
Chrissie Page 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:

To find the truth, she went to the ends of the earth See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC Films [UK] | Cohen Media Group | See more »

Country:

UK | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Oranges & Sunshine See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A web article, 'Movies Filmed in the Eastern Suburbs of Adelaide', researched and compiled by Jim Nelson, and published by the Campbelltown City Council, states that for this film, "the facade of the old Glenside Hospital is used as the Bindoon Boys Town eighty kilometres north of Perth [in] Western Australia. As well as appearing in the film Glenside was used in the production of it." Moreover, an Adelaide Now / The Advertiser article by Andrew Fenton and published on 4th June 2011, stated: "The new Glenside home of the SA Film Corporation doubles for Bindoon in 'Oranges and Sunshine'." See more »

Goofs

When Margaret is searching through the Public Records of Births and Marriages each entry gives full details, is handwritten, and sorted by town and presented in chronological order. In reality, to protect data they are single-line typed entries giving basics and references for obtaining full details, for anywhere in the country, and sorted alphabetically by surname for each quarter of the year. See more »

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 The Fabulous Picture Show: Oranges and Sunshine (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
They were promised oranges and sunshine.
14 January 2012 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Oranges and Sunshine is directed by Jim Loach and adapted to screenplay by Rona Munro from the book "Empty Cradles", written by Margaret Humphreys. It stars Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham and Richard Dillane. Music is by Lisa Gerrard and cinematography by Denson Baker. The film tells the true story of Margaret Humphreys (Watson), a Nottingham social worker who in 1986 began uncovering the scandal of forced child migration from the UK to various countries of the Commonwealth. Thousands upon thousands of children who were either from poor families or orphaned, were sent to British colonies under a banner of lies. Where instead of the oranges and sunshine they were expecting, they were put to work as hard labour and suffered terrible conditions to live in as well as abuse at the hands of their carers.

Lost Children Of The Empire.

It's a story ripe for exploitation, for a bit of shock cinema, the kind that assaults you with horrific images, but Oranges and Sunshine is a rare beast, a true life horror tale that accentuates the outrage by remaining understated and steady in sombre tone. This is expert film making from Loach (son of Ken), letting the story unfold with a naturalism that makes it a deeply moving experience. No histrionic characterisations by the actors, no grandstanding speeches or attempts to paint Margaret Humphreys as an armour plated crusader risking death at every turn. It's cold, yet humane, in its telling, the pain of story etched on the faces of the lost children, now adults searching for identity and a family thread to stitch it together. The emotional uplift of the reunion scenes gladdens the heart, but never once does the film proclaim, like its wonderful protagonist, that what has been lost can be replaced. But identity is comforting, the fragmented pieces of childhoods ruined finally piecing themselves together.

Who was crucified huh? You tell me that.

Thankfully the makers resist, rightly, the urge to show flashback scenes of the children suffering. We know just by dialogue exchanges and character reactions, just what pain and misery was bestowed upon these minors. Yet the film is full of powerful scenes that really grip and hold the heart, where quite often they are just quiet conversations, a statement made or a question asked. Or even in silence for one truly potent sequence as Margaret visits Bindoon Boys Town in Western Australia, an imposing, but elegant structure on the outside, but that elegance belies the terrible crimes perpetrated by the cleric elders within. Loach and his team don't need tricks or historical tampering to make their film dramatic and worthy, the story sells itself on both counts.

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world.

Picture is propelled by a wonderfully restrained performance by Watson. A perfect bit of casting, Watson never screams for our sympathies, she hits the right emotional notes required, but never strains to get there, she plays Margaret as a bastion of decency. She deftly blends stoicism with vulnerability as Margaret juggles the emotional strains of the search with that of the safe haven of her family home that she is away from for long periods. Watson is surrounded by three damn fine male performances. Weaving and Wenham as the "lost boys" underpin the story, they perfectly embody the crushing of the childhood spirit, a two pronged acting show that says so much for the thousands of children who were cruel victims of the child migration schemes. Dillane scores high as Margaret's husband, he perfectly understands the tone of the movie and turns in a respectful and appropriate performance as Margaret's loving crutch.

It's not all perfect, Margaret is met with some resistance and finds herself in a couple of tricky situations, but the evil nature of the wrong-doers never fully surfaces to give her a formidable foe to respond too. Nor is anyone made accountable for their heinous crimes, something which leaves a frustrating taste in the mouth. However, the point of the movie, the attention brought to the story it's about and the skill with which said story is told, ensures that these are just minor quibbles in one of the best movies of the year. 9/10


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