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Oranges and Sunshine

History . Drama

Oranges and Sunshine tells the story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals in recent times: the forced migration of children from the United Kingdom. Almost singlehandedly, against overwhelming odds and with little regard for her own well-being, Margaret reunited thousands of families, brought authorities to account and worldwide attention to an extraordinary miscarriage of justice. She discovered a secret that the British government had kept hidden for years: one hundred and thirty thousand children in care had been sent abroad to commonwealth countries, mainly Australia. Children as young as four had been told that their parents were dead, and been sent to children's homes on the other side of the world. Many were subjected to appalling abuse. They were promised oranges and sunshine, they got hard labour and life in institutions.

Actors: David Wenham , Hugo Weaving , Emily Watson , Molly Windsor , Richard Dillane , Lorraine Ashbourne , Stuart Wolfenden , Aisling Loftus , Tara Morice
Directors: Jim Loach
Release: 2011-04-01
More Info:
  • Ernest Hardy

    At the film's center is Emily Watson's pitch-perfect performance as Margaret Humphreys, the real-life social worker who in 1986 stumbled over the hidden practice.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    It's powerful, gut-wrenching stuff, and it doesn't need tarting up.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The most powerful sequences in the movie are the linked vignettes involving Margaret and the various grown-up children whom she attempts to help in their search for – what, exactly? Closure? Catharsis?

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Sam Adams

    The movie belongs to Hugo Weaving and David Wenham, both playing what one newspaper dubs "the lost children of the Empire," men broken by the appalling conditions that met them in their new homeland.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Richard Kuipers

    A deeply moving study of emotionally scarred adults who were illegally deported as children to Australia from Britain in the 1940s and '50s.

    Variety Full Review
  • Leba Hertz

    Emily Watson, who always brings a special grace to the screen, gives a multilayered performance to the role of Margaret Humphreys.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    One question is not addressed by the movie: Why were the children deported in the first place? Yes, we know the "reasons," but what were the motives?

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Of course, it might take time for Jim Loach to catch up with his father's track record; Oranges & Sunshine is a good place to start.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    Rona Munro's screenplay for Oranges and Sunshine is unnecessarily flighty. As the story ricochets between Britain and Australia, the film often loses track of time and becomes fragmented as it struggles to integrate too many subplots. What holds it together is Ms. Watson's calm, sturdy performance.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • David Hughes

    Moving if low-key, Jim Loach's debut feature is proof that compassionate, socially conscious filmmaking runs in the family.

    Empire Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Making a true story of social injustice into a gripping narrative requires more imagination than is contained in this well-intentioned but uninspired effort.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    Sometimes the facts can get in the way of the drama, and that's the central problem here. That sense of needing to be true to the record is reflected in an overwhelmed screenplay.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Natasha Senjanovic

    Sunshine is stretched thin for the big screen. The decidedly art-house film is better suited for television.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    The result is a problem drama with more problem than drama.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The movie lumbers, and Loach and screenwriter Rona Munro's affectless approach winds up tamping down the movie's good intentions.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Mark Feeney

    Oranges and Sunshine is like a Mike Leigh movie drained of all its bodily fluids.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Andrew Schenker

    The film is so careful to avoid the luridness that would seem inevitably to accompany an excavation of child kidnapping, forced labor, and rape, that the result is a plodding, overly tasteful procedural that holds up its hero as an incorruptible embodiment of goodness.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
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  • child abuse

  • based on true story

  • australia

  • 1980s

  • child migration scheme

  • deportation

  • united kingdom

  • british government

  • children

  • social worker

  • deported children

  • government scandal

  • england to australia migration

  • orphan

  • orphanage

  • scandal

  • three word title

  • christmas

  • threatening call

  • congregation

  • cleaning woman

  • cleaning lady

  • australian government

  • archives

  • search for identity

  • lost identity

  • change of identity

  • identity

  • lie

  • search for parent

  • mother daughter reunion

  • mother child separation

  • revelations

  • revelation

  • based on novel

  • title spoken by character