Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

Director: Jim Loach
Writers: Rona Munro, Margaret Humphreys (book)
Stars: Emily Watson, Aisling Loftus, Stuart Wolfenden

Ok this is a tough one to review. Not because it’s a bad film or anything as such, but because of its content matter. Caught this on Netflix and thought it looked interesting. Knew nothing about it, or its factual subject matter. The film starts in Nottingham in the mid 80’s with Humphreys (Watson, in perhaps her best role to date) as a British social worker taking a child away from its mother, for the best interests of the child. This scene is key to what follows.

What does follow (and I’m not going to go into it here at all) is the discovery by Humphreys of the systematic and organised mass deportation of British children to the colonies in the mid 50’s to date. It really is a film you need to watch, not only is it well directed, it is superbly acted by all concerned, especially from Weaving and Wenham as now grown up men who were sent overseas as children. The acting overall is superb from everyone involved. Watson plays her part wonderfully and gives off a real feel of empathy and sympathy to those affected.

Audio and direction is also excellent and there is some great photography used also (mainly in Australia). I cannot comment for the book but the plot is also spaced nicely from Humphreys initial findings to her reaching out to people and subsequently traveling to Australia to meet and help the now grown adults find their families. we also spend a reasonable amount of time focusing on how all this affects her personally and in her private life. Her own family initially supportive of her and her actions and how that eventually also turns sour as they deal with her never being at home as other peoples lives take over her own.

This film is actually based on Humphrey’s own book regarding the events so I will assume it is mostly factual. The term ignorance is bliss can perhaps be applied here, as when you find out some of the atrocities your own governments have covered up, along with the consequences of said actions, it truly is horrifying. Margaret Humphreys received numerous awards for her perseverance and hard work in getting families back together and uncovering this scandal. I for one can only commend her for it. Such things should never have happened. Powerful, thought provoking and tragic. Well worth watching.


The Sage’s Rating:

Posted in Drama, History and tagged , , , , .

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