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Oranges and Sunshine

7.11 h 44 min2011X-Ray15
Oranges and Sunshine tells the real-life story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals in recent times: the organised deportation of children in care from the United Kingdom to Australia. Almost single-handedly, against overwhelming odds and with little regard for her own well-being, Margaret reunited thousands of families.
Jim Loach
Emily Watson
None Available
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Emile ShermanIain Canning
Icon Film Distribution
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

778 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Retford67Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 March 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Deserves oscars
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I can't understand why this film isn't better known or why it didn't win big awards. It is beautifully told, heartbreaking and the acting is superb. The fact it is based on a true story makes it all the more poignant. It manages to cover a very difficult story without shying away from the hurt. It doesn't fall into being trite and it doesn't leave you in any doubt that nothing is actually going to fix what happened. There is no triumphant ending (a la Hollywood). Margaret Humphreys is a marvel - determined, bloody minded and yet vulnerable. She never makes this about her, and yet it is about her because without her nothing would have been done to help these people. Her and her husband are good people who couldn't turn away from something they knew to be wrong and who did their utmost to help. Good film but you will need tissues.
14 people found this helpful
RochycooReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 August 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Heartbreaking, how could this have happened?!?
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True story of 130,000 British children, deported to Australia between 1920 and 1970, many from deprived backgrounds or orphanages, promised a wonderful life full of sunshine and oranges that they could pick off the trees. Sadly, for many of them this was far from the truth. Abused, beaten and used as slaves, they had miserable childhoods and issues that continued into adulthood. Our government apologised in 2010, something which was well overdue, a dark event in our history, which has mostly gone unnoticed. Until I read a book called ‘The Oceans Between Us’ I had no idea these events took place and I can highly recommend it. Make sure you have plenty of tissues ready as the film is heartbreaking.
16 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 August 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A courageous movie
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An absolutely heart-breaking movie to watch about a subject matter that I had never heard of before - the deportation of English children to Australia to be abused as child slaves as late as 1970. The film does a good job to show both individual stories and the collective experience of these children, who were exploited by the UK and Australian governments as well as various "charities" and, once again, the Church (similar to events portrayed in the movies Spotlight or The Magdalene sisters).
The movie features extraordinary performances by the actors involved and Emily Watson is 100% convincing. The stories told are tragic and raise the question of what justice has been given to these children and their families - sadly, the UK and Australian Governments apparently didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing until 2010. Much like I would expect the real-life people to feel, the film doesn't come to a satisfactory resolution but it's message is clear: that nothing can change what happened in the past, but that we cannot stop doing what's right by re-uniting families and not letting governments/ charities/ Churches get away with their atrocious, systematic abuse.
I wish there was more information towards the end of the movie about individual stories but also the social justice aspect of it: did survivors take legal action against their abusers and were any of the latter convicted of their crimes? Was the Child Migrants Trust ever expanded (particularly after governments took responsibility)?
This movie certainly produces more questions than answers, I know it is the type of film I will never forget.
7 people found this helpful
magical flowerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 February 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must watch film
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I love this film.seen it before on the TV.
Its factual and very sad what happened to all these children,deported to Australian by the government. Yet for years both UK and Australian governments denied everything . A amazing SW took it on to find the mothers and fathers of these lost ,forgotten children. It showed the brothers were at the hard of cruelty,beating boys,sexual assualting them.
Shocking but factual film
It's good to watch set in the 60s and the acting brill
4 people found this helpful
Mark M.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 November 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
There but for the grace of...
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This is an outstanding film.

In the BFI Q&A on the DVD there is a question to Jim Loach about whether he thought of making a documentary around this true story instead of a drama, but he has done what his father did with Cathy Come Home. He has made a drama, with the immense power of a documentary because it depicts real events.

I was adopted at the start of the sixties, as were my sisters. This could so easily have been us. I think the story and the telling of the story should move anybody, but thinking that we were spared this outrage made it that bit more poignant for me.

The acting across the board is excellent and not just the leads, although Emily Watson's performance is exceptional, naturalistic and award worthy. Some of the lesser roles, the people telling their stories, are also first rate.

The scene near the end where Ben says, we gave you our mother, brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it.
18 people found this helpful
James MurchisonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 September 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
a 1/2 hour documentary bulked out into a film
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Well made, tolerably well acted and an important story but as a film it ran out of steam after half an hour.

I don't believe for a moment that the people who put this expatriation programme in place were evil - but there could not be a worse example of atrocious implementation and zero follow up with very unpleasant outcomes for many of the children involved. Awful! I thought the UK had a civil service do do these things and get them right. No wonder everyone developed official amnesia whenever the programme was mentioned.

At one point in the early 50s apparently a couple of MPs went to take a look but totally failed to spot the abuse of the children - well, MP is the only significant public position for which zero intelligence or qualification is required I suppose.

Do watch once, for as long as you can, but don't expect to ever want to watch again - which does not mean that the story it tells is unimportant - quite the opposite.
The ParagonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 November 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Such an important story
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A deeply emotional true story of children, removed from the care of their birth parents in the UK and sent to Australia.

With no knowledge of what has happened to their children, and just the most reluctant reasoning offered - that their children have been adopted - years pass and the parents, and now-grown children, are reunited by the efforts of intrepid social worker, Margaret Humphreys. But half a world away from their parents, the children have suffered unimaginable horrors, and none has come through this unscathed.

A shocking story, made all the worse by the knowledge that it’s real, but with some incredible performances. There is no doubt in my mind, this is an important story and like so many other important stories, it’s not an easy one.

MIchelleHReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 August 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
A social scandal that should never have happened....
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I had previously read the book under the title Empty Cradles and I finally got round to watching Oranges and Sunshine....Emily Watson's acting is superb. A very emotional true story of child migration which occurred mostly in the 1950 - 1960s....a cover up by our government....children thinking their parents no longer wanted them and enticed with the chance of a new life in Australia where the sun shines....and oranges that grow on trees....a total cover up to the life of hard work and abuse for some of the children.....brothers and sisters were separated never to see each other took one hardworking social worker from Nottingham; one Australian visitor and one sister to uncover the injustices the families and their children had to live through....outstanding performances all round, very true to the book.....Oranges and Sunshine made me cry.....very thought provoking....
13 people found this helpful
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