Oranges and Sunshine (2010) Poster

Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

  • Rate: 7.1/10 total 1,352 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 1 April 2011 (Ireland)
  • Filming Location: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Oranges and Sunshine (2010)


Oranges and Sunshine 2010tt1438216.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Oranges and Sunshine (2010)
  • Rate: 7.1/10 total 1,352 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 1 April 2011 (Ireland)
  • Filming Location: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  • Budget: $4,500,000(estimated)
  • Gross: AUD 3,848,275(Australia)(31 October 2011)
  • Director: Jim Loach
  • Stars: Hugo Weaving, Emily Watson and David Wenham
  • Original Music By: Lisa Gerrard   
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Australia | 1980s | Social Worker | British Government | Children

Writing Credits By:

  • Rona Munro (written by)
  • Margaret Humphreys (book "Empty Cradles")

Known Trivia

    Plot: Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunite the children involved — now adults living mostly in Australia — with their parents in Britain.  »

    Story: Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunite the children involved — now adults living mostly in Australia — with their parents in Britain.


    Synopsis: 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.


    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Suzanne Alizart known as senior production executive
    • Camilla Bray known as producer
    • Iain Canning known as producer
    • Joan Schneider known as line producer
    • Emile Sherman known as producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Hugo Weaving known as Jack
    • Emily Watson known as Margaret Humphreys
    • David Wenham known as Len
    • Aisling Loftus known as Susie
    • Tara Morice known as Pauline
    • Lorraine Ashbourne known as Nicky
    • Clayton Watson known as CM (voice)
    • Stuart Wolfenden known as Bill
    • Richard Dillane known as Merv
    • Geoff Morrell known as Walter
    • Molly Windsor
    • Russell Dykstra known as Dan
    • Alastair Cumming known as Australia House Official
    • Marg Downey known as Miss Hutchison
    • Kate Box known as Radio studio receptionist
    • Greg Stone known as Bob
    • Neil Melville known as Monsignor Brutin
    • Carolina Giammetta known as Charity Rep
    • Neil Pigot
    • Ruth Rickman known as Orphan
    • Adam Morgan known as The Intruder
    • Kate Rutter known as Vera
    • Neil May known as Commuter
    • Federay Holmes known as Charlotte
    • Tammy Wakefield known as Susan
    • Helen Grayson known as Bureaucrat
    • Jude Henshall known as Radio interviewer
    • Margaret Turner known as Orphan
    • Tess O'Flaherty known as Orphan
    • Marie Wheeler-King known as Rita
    • Harvey Scrimshaw known as Ben
    • Kurt Bayly known as Hotel Attendee
    • Adam Tedder known as Doctor
    • John Robinson known as Researcher in library
    • Hef Lawry known as PA to Charity Rep
    • Neil Broome known as Government Dignatory (uncredited)
    • Carol Bunting known as Library Background (uncredited)
    • John Howard known as Orphan (uncredited)
    • Chris Koch known as (uncredited)
    • Karen Power known as Orphan (uncredited)
    • Mandahla Rose known as Nurse (uncredited)
    • Sladana Vranjes known as Hotel attendee (uncredited)



    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Eileen Brennan known as assistant makeup artist
    • Peta Dunstall known as makeup supervisor
    • Marion Lee known as hair stylist
    • Marion Lee known as makeup artist
    • Zoey Stones known as makeup artist

    Art Department:

    • Jess Alexander known as graphic designer
    • Hannah Boyton known as charge hand painter
    • Bowen Ellames known as graphic artist
    • Douglas Ferguson known as stand by props
    • Alex Giles known as construction coordinator
    • Leeth Keough known as greensman
    • Brad Maddern known as art department runner
    • Obie O'Brien known as additional set dresser
    • Yuri Poetzl known as assistant standby props
    • Andrew Ranner known as assistant art director
    • Lauren Richards known as action vehicles coordinator
    • Dean Spicksley known as set painter
    • Richard Trayling known as storyboard artist
    • Katie Tuxford known as standby art director
    • Matt Wells known as property master: UK




    Production Companies:

    • Screen Australia (presents)
    • Little Gaddesden Productions (presents)
    • Fulcrum Media Finance (in association with)
    • EM Media (in association with)
    • South Australian Film Corporation, The (in association with) (as South Australian Film Corporation)
    • Deluxe Australia (in association with) (as Deluxe)
    • Screen NSW (in association with)
    • BBC Films (in association with)
    • Sixteen Films
    • See-Saw Films

    Other Companies:

    • Audiolink Radio Communications  walkie talkies
    • BBC Films  funding
    • Deluxe  funding
    • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
    • Film Finances  completion guarantor
    • Fulcrum Media Services  funding
    • Mediacom 24-7  travel and accommodation
    • Screen Australia  funding
    • Screen NSW  funding
    • Showfilm  travel agent
    •  sound equipment supplied by
    • South Australian Film Corporation, The  funding


    • Cohen Media Group (2011) (USA) (theatrical)
    • Diaphana Films (2011) (France) (theatrical)
    • Icon Film Distribution (2011) (Australia) (theatrical)
    • Icon Film Distribution (2011) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Lusomundo (2011) (Portugal) (theatrical)
    • Moviola (2012) (Japan) (theatrical)
    • Odeon (2011) (Greece) (theatrical)
    • Film1 (2012) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
    • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD)



    Other Stuff

    Visual Effects by:
    • Ean Carr known as compositor
    • John Durney known as digital compositor
    • Matthew T. Griffin known as digital compositor
    • Blake Muir known as digital compositor
    • James Rogers known as visual effects supervisor
    • Takahiro Suzuki known as title designer
    • Takahiro Suzuki known as visual effects artist

    Release Date:

    • South Korea 8 October 2010 (Pusan International Film Festival)
    • Italy 29 October 2010 (Rome Film Festival)
    • UK 25 February 2011 (Glasgow Film Festival)
    • Ireland 1 April 2011
    • UK 1 April 2011
    • Australia 9 June 2011
    • Greece 14 July 2011
    • New Zealand 28 July 2011
    • Lebanon 4 August 2011
    • France 5 October 2011 (Dinard Festival of British Cinema)
    • France 13 October 2011 (Valenciennes Film Festival)
    • Belgium 14 October 2011 (Gent International Film Festival)
    • USA 15 October 2011 (Hamptons International Film Festival)
    • USA 28 October 2011 (limited)
    • Netherlands 8 November 2011 (DVD premiere)
    • France 1 February 2012 (Villeurbanne British and Irish Film Festival)
    • Japan 14 April 2012

    MPAA: Rated R for some strong language



    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


    1. scunnerish from Glasgow, United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      I caught this film as part of the Glasgow Film Festival and I'm gladthat I did. Knowing very little of the story about the the organiseddeportation of children in care from the United Kingdom to Australia, Ifound much of this film was shocking and upsetting. This filmconcentrates on Margaret Humphrys, the social worker who uncovers thisscandal. Under her own steam and then with the support of her employer,Margaret discovers that more than just a few children were deported.She makes it her mission to help those deportees who wish to find outabout the families they were forced to leave behind. This proves to beno easy task as the British government stonewall her and provide nohelp with the details of the deportees or their families. No deliberateattempt is made to overplay the injustice or high emotions runningthrough the story; it is told in a simple, straightforward andaffecting manner and it is all the more powerful for that. Take sometime out and go and see this film as it's one that deserves a wideaudience and stay to the end as that's when the viewer finds out whenan apology for this very sad situation was given.

    2. keith-sheppard
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      Carronas' review could not be more wrong! She could not even get thedirectors name right. It's JIM not LEN Loach, and the rest of thereview is just as inaccurate. I had no trouble following the story lineeven without any prior knowledge of the events. I had no troubleunderstanding where each scene was set, be it UK or Oz, it wasperfectly clear which was which. The film stock helped to give thatdated feel of the 1980's and this was further enhanced by the vehicles,furniture and fashions. The lack of dialogue in certain scenes (meetingthe Brothers) added tension where words would have added nothing. Thiswas an excellent film, well filmed and well acted. See it and enjoy.

    3. jburtroald95 from Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      Sarah's Key was critically lauded for its reliable method of evokingraw anguish in its audience by depicting the trauma of a savageinjustice from a child's perspective. In the same year, Jim Loach'sfeature drama handles the similar material of an scandal that's justabout on par with the Vel d'Hiv roundup, but the film's subjects areall well into adulthood by the time we are meeting them. The fact thatthe victims are always shown as adults (in physical form at least) hasgiven the achievement of pulling off this excellent film a higherdegree of difficulty, seeing as the actors and screenplay writers arerequired to work extra hard to win the audience's sympathy, rather thanhaving the simple forgivable innocence of an actual child on screendoing the job. However, this is not to say that Sarah's Key was mereemotional pornography: it found excellent ways of challenging itself inother aspects which gave it a greater level of sophistication, but interms of expressing the heartbreak, the feat of Oranges and Sunshine ismuch more remarkable.

      Among the topics being explored here is the very complicated issue ofadoption. The burdensome puzzle of how a child in an unstable familysituation or an unhealthy state of living should receive professionalhelp – whether such interference is truly protecting their bestinterests or inflicting deep psychological harm by depriving them offamily – has long been troubling child protection authorities. In mid-twentieth-century England, the popular solution settled on was theorganised deportation of these children to Australia. Told that theywere orphans, with no living relatives to care for them, they would besent over in large numbers and, once there, sold into slavery for arespected church organisation commonly refferrred to as "The Brothers".

      Several decades later, a determined social worker from Nottingham hasbegun to single-handedly reunite the victims of the outrage with theirfamily back in England. As they relate to her their heartwrenchingstories, each with their own despicable atrocities on top of what hasalready been mentioned, the irreparable damage of being raised withouta proper family becomes apparent, and they are reduced to miserable,vulnerable, homesick little children. Its frequent mentioning ofmothers, its claim that the wound of lost parents will never trulyheal, and the fact that most of the victims shown are boys creates verydistinct allusions to Peter Pan, even before that similarity isactually mentioned by one of the people. An additional noticeableparallel between this film and another classic story is the idea of achild suffering lonesomely at the hands of a cruel organisation underthe sneaky pretense that they are an orphan, which is reminiscent ofOliver Twist.

      However, it would be grossly unfair to just cynically dissect this filmusing only comparisons: it displays a very impressive divergence fromthe typical conspiracy drama. Its most prominent asset is the fully-fledged characterisation of its activist hero and the equal attentionspent on showing her suffering as well that of her clients. Thedelightful Emily Watson obviously does a great deal to bring her tolife, playing her so brilliantly that she comes across as bothperfectly likable and humanly multi-faceted. Hearing such painfulstories is incredibly taxing, and the growing unpopularity she isgaining as she stirs the government and the press results in some trulyterrifying personal attacks while she is staying in Australia, but asthe authorities are refusing to assist her, she knows that she must notallows herself to withdraw from her mission as no one else will bewilling to pick it up. She does, of course, also become estranged fromher family as the task begins to consume her, but thankfully notinstantly, allowing the satisfying realism to remain intact.

      Also a relief is that a handful of the people she is helping areactually showing genuine gratitude and returning the favour by givingher personal assistance. The friendships she forms with these peopleare truly touching, and effectively lighten the situation for both thehero (Margaret) and the audience.

      With a very capable supporting cast, featuring David Wenham, HugoWeaving and Tara Morice (Strictly Ballroom), in the roles of thevictims and Margaret's family, this is a highly commendable andworthwhile piece of filmmaking, let down only by the rather repetitivenature of the script, if anything.

    4. bethelagcy from New York, NY
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      I saw this truly extraordinary film last night … and know now that itwill be with me for a long time to come. The story is totallycompelling and the acting is superb! Emily Watson is always a wonder towatch and she does some of her finest work here — perhaps her bestperformance ever. The supporting players are, without exception, highlygifted and each finds his or her character to the point where you feel,at times, that you are watching a documentary, so fine are theirportrayals. Based on the true experiences of social worker MargaretHumphreys (that will leave you with your mouth agape often)and with abeautifully written script that moves briskly … and, at many turns,into frightening territory, with terrific direction, this is amust-see! Put it on your list! If there is any justice, this one willfigure when the awards are handed out!

    5. bartersiobhan from Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      This is a story of the organised deportation to Australia of over120,000 British children since the late 1890s until the 1960s. It is amust-see for people of our generation, if only to gain some insightinto what some of our forebears had to endure.

      Emily Watson – if she weren't such an accomplished actress – would makea fine counsellor/social worker. She shines in the lead role and thescene where she wakes up with breathing difficulties is very moving -she literally has the weight of all the people on that deported list onher compassionate heart. Hugo Weaving is deeply moving as the man whoall his life wanted only to see his mother again. David Wenham's Lenprovides the only relief as the boy-made-good who finds his mum andbegins a relationship with her.

      Watch it and consider how lucky you are.

    6. MrGoodMovie from Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      Should anyone ever question the value of the film industry then theinnocently titled "Oranges and Sunshine" is a film that, on its own,could quite easily justify its existence.

      Whilst the acting, production and direction are superb, the film's darksubject matter overshadows all, and its disturbing revelations requireno dramatisation. As the psychological damage caused to a wholegeneration of "stolen" children becomes clear, it is difficult tocomprehend the sheer immensity of the systematic betrayal of trustsuffered by a staggering number of British families, and perpetrated bythose in authority who should have known better.

      "Oranges and Sunshine" covers a mere handful of tragic stories invarious ways, all very effective. These stories expose a truly shamefulepisode in British history, and the way in which those affected adaptedto their fate – with varying degrees of success. What is clear thoughis that for better or worse, this childhood experience has indeliblymarked them for the rest of their lives.

      Whilst the children who were torn away from their mothers may not havebeen marshalled roughly onto rail wagons, on a one way trip tooblivion, a very clear parallel can be drawn between the ghastly regimein Nazi Germany, and the ghastly regimes that allowed this despicablescheme to continue, and which do not appear, from the facts as depictedin this film, to have been brought to account.

      The parallel is that when good men and women fall silent, and no-onechallenges the systemic abuse of power by those in authority, then thearrogant, the incompetent, the weak-willed, the lazy and, indeed, thedownright evil, triumph.

      To me that is the enduring message of this brilliant yet incredibly sadfilm. It is a repeated lesson we seem incapable of learning, no matterhow many times emotionally evocative films like this attempt to remindus.

    7. JohnRouseMerriottChard from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      Oranges and Sunshine is directed by Jim Loach and adapted to screenplayby Rona Munro from the book "Empty Cradles", written by MargaretHumphreys. It stars Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham andRichard Dillane. Music is by Lisa Gerrard and cinematography by DensonBaker. The film tells the true story of Margaret Humphreys (Watson), aNottingham social worker who in 1986 began uncovering the scandal offorced child migration from the UK to various countries of theCommonwealth. Thousands upon thousands of children who were either frompoor families or orphaned, were sent to British colonies under a bannerof lies. Where instead of the oranges and sunshine they were expecting,they were put to work as hard labour and suffered terrible conditionsto 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 kindthat assaults you with horrific images, but Oranges and Sunshine is arare beast, a true life horror tale that accentuates the outrage byremaining understated and steady in sombre tone. This is expert filmmaking from Loach (son of Ken), letting the story unfold with anaturalism that makes it a deeply moving experience. No histrioniccharacterisations by the actors, no grandstanding speeches or attemptsto paint Margaret Humphreys as an armour plated crusader risking deathat every turn. It's cold, yet humane, in its telling, the pain of storyetched on the faces of the lost children, now adults searching foridentity and a family thread to stitch it together. The emotionaluplift of the reunion scenes gladdens the heart, but never once doesthe film proclaim, like its wonderful protagonist, that what has beenlost can be replaced. But identity is comforting, the fragmented piecesof childhoods ruined finally piecing themselves together.

      Who was crucified huh? You tell me that.

      Thankfully the makers resist, rightly, the urge to show flashbackscenes of the children suffering. We know just by dialogue exchangesand character reactions, just what pain and misery was bestowed uponthese minors. Yet the film is full of powerful scenes that really gripand hold the heart, where quite often they are just quietconversations, a statement made or a question asked. Or even in silencefor one truly potent sequence as Margaret visits Bindoon Boys Town inWestern Australia, an imposing, but elegant structure on the outside,but that elegance belies the terrible crimes perpetrated by the clericelders within. Loach and his team don't need tricks or historicaltampering to make their film dramatic and worthy, the story sellsitself 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, shehits the right emotional notes required, but never strains to getthere, she plays Margaret as a bastion of decency. She deftly blendsstoicism with vulnerability as Margaret juggles the emotional strainsof the search with that of the safe haven of her family home that sheis away from for long periods. Watson is surrounded by three damn finemale performances. Weaving and Wenham as the "lost boys" underpin thestory, they perfectly embody the crushing of the childhood spirit, atwo pronged acting show that says so much for the thousands of childrenwho were cruel victims of the child migration schemes. Dillane scoreshigh as Margaret's husband, he perfectly understands the tone of themovie and turns in a respectful and appropriate performance asMargaret's loving crutch.

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

    8. Joe Mason from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      I would like to read the book as it take two people to make a baby andthere is absolutely no mention of fathers in the whole film (except thepriests). The assumption is that because the kids came from hardbackgrounds then the father was not present but the main cry from thesepeople is that they wanted to 'know who they are'. Then give up afterthey find out that the mother is dead. Maybe the format was not enoughto cover that. Still, not one mention of a father in the whole film.Hard to enjoy a film when you keep asking the same question through thewhole viewing and it doesn't address it at all. Would have preferredmore of a documentary than a story as it is an interesting topic andthe conflicts of a successful story line sometimes has to omit largertruths.

    9. s-sheen from Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

      I felt that this dramatisation depicted Nottingham correctly as I wasborn there. It deals with a tragic British Government experiment aptlynot over zealously replaying memories but instead reflecting the painthat those are still suffering.

      It shows for me the Empirical British using the colonies as some testzone at the expense of thousands of children who have subsequentlysuffered decades of loss of identity and childhood.

      It is estimated that it cost 5GBP per day to institutionalise childrenin UK in the 50's it fails to even consider the cost to theseindividuals and the generations that follows in their blood lines thatboth Britain and Australia now have as citizens.

      Britain failed to tackle its inherent class system and still does,instead using Australia as a testing ground first to establish theCountry and then to use the bigoted and racist ideals of religiousextremist's to continue its racist empirical hold over the colony untilthe 70's.

      Thank you to Margaret Humphrey's and her Husband and family and toNottinghamshire City Council, to bring this nightmare for those thathad to experience to the fore and thank goodness that we are encouragedto remember these atrocities, "Lest we forget".

    10. julian-mumford from New Zealand
      30 Mar 2012, 12:48 am

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

      In case you were under the assumption that this occurred in the darkages, you would be wrong. The last cases are recorded in the late1960's and early 1970's.

      Emily Watson plays Margaret Humphreys the tireless Nottinghamshiresocial worker, who stumbled across an isolated case and then foughtalmost single-handedly to undercover the truth. Creating the "ChildMigrants" trust by necessity to reunite lost families, sometimesdecades later and in many cases too late.

      The film is based on the the book "Empty Cradles" written by Humphreysto highlight the plight of the families and children involved and raisemuch needed funds.

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

      As in many such cases, the Church and charitable organizations, whenconfronted with the proof of the neglect they oversaw, denied thecharges and repeatedly attempted to frustrate attempts to drag thesecret into the light.

      Eventually in 2010 the UK Government formally apologised for themigrants treatment, finally acknowledging the mistakes that had beenmade.

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

      The film resembles "Magdalene Sisters", all the more effective for thelack of moralizing, preaching and sentimentality, apart from one offkey line "You got my Mum for Christmas", the dialogue and acting arepitch perfect.

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


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

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


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