13 user 59 critic

The Arbor (2010)

1:40 | Trailer
Portrayal of the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar.


Clio Barnard
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Manjinder Virk ... Lorraine Dunbar
Christine Bottomley ... Lisa Thompson
Natalie Gavin ... The Girl
Parvani Lingiah Parvani Lingiah ... Young Lorraine
Danny Webb ... Max Stafford-Clark / The Father
Kate Rutter ... The Mother
Liam Price Liam Price ... Billy
Robert Haythorne Robert Haythorne ... Fred
Josh Brown Josh Brown ... Policeman
Gary Whitaker Gary Whitaker ... Self
Jamie Timlin Jamie Timlin ... Self
Jimi Mistry ... Yousaf
Robert Emms ... Young David
Kathryn Pogson ... Pamela Dunbar
Jonathan Jaynes Jonathan Jaynes ... David Dunbar


Portrayal of the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Documentary Reinvented


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Clio Barnard recorded audio interviews with Lorraine Dunbar and other members of the Dunbar family over a two year period to create her screenplay. See more »


Features Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) See more »


On My Radio
Written by Neol Davies (as Davies)
Performed by The Selecter
Published by Fairwood Music
Licensed Courtesy of ! Music
Licensed Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

A unique, brave piece of documentary and docu-drama film making.
18 October 2011 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

It tells the life story of UK playwright Andrea Dunbar, who s was discovered at a very young age in the British housing projects known as 'The Arbor' where she wrote about the alcoholism and family decay she watched around her.

The film uses two extraordinary devices, both of which I found off-putting at first, but had great impact by the end.

First, scenes from Dunbar's plays are staged in the open lawn areas of the real life Arbor, so we see a fight taking place in a living room at night acted out on the grass in broad daylight (with a couch and other living room props sitting there surreally, watched by – presumably – the neighborhood people still struggling under the same conditions. At first this just seemed distracting, but over time, it helped bring home that Dunbar's works represented real people, real lives, real pain.

The second, even odder and more audacious move, is to have all the interviews with the real participants acted out by professional actors lip-syncing to the recorded words of the real people. Again, the was distracting for the first while, but eventually it lead to the film feeling simultaneously dreamy and like a memory, and in some way more 'real' than if the actors simply used their own voices.

A very moving film that doesn't always work, but his heroic enough in it's bravery that it more than overcomes the occasional missed step.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

25 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Arbor See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,638, 1 May 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Artangel Media See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed