Oranges And Sunshine

Critics Consensus

Grounded in a heartwrenching fact-based story, steered by Loach's sensitive direction, and led by a powerful performance from Watson, Oranges and Sunshine sidesteps its pacing problems and occasionally clichéd screenplay.



Total Count: 71


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,524
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Movie Info

Oranges and Sunshine tells the story of Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson), a social worker from Nottingham, who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals of recent times; the mass deportation of children from the United Kingdom to Australia. Single-handedly and against overwhelming odds, Margaret reunited thousands of families and drew worldwide attention to an extraordinary miscarriage of justice. Children as young as four had been told that their parents were dead and sent to children's homes on the other side of the world, where many were subjected to appalling abuse. These forgotten children were promised Oranges and Sunshine but they got hard labour and life in institutions. -- (C) Icon


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Critic Reviews for Oranges And Sunshine

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (22)

  • The sincerity of feeling is unmistakable. So's the flat-footedness of the writing.

    Nov 3, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Emily Watson, who always brings a special grace to the screen, gives a multilayered performance to the role of Margaret Humphreys, who not only puts her own family dynamic at risk but finds herself physically threatened.

    Oct 27, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The result is a problem drama with more problem than drama.

    Oct 27, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Emily Watson, a delicate English rose, has never seemed more sturdy than here.

    Oct 27, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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?

    Oct 21, 2011 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Once, very early on, the secret deportations have been exposed there aren't many new places for the film to go - just more scenes of an increasingly tired-looking Emily Watson trudging around with an armful of file folders.

    Oct 21, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Oranges And Sunshine

  • Dec 09, 2012
    Really good movie based on sad, but true, events. A rather painful movie to watch. Any time anyone is brutalized is awful, but when children are involved... well, it causes me to yet again wonder why mankind does what it does. The events that happened here are horrendous, and I applaud those that tried to help these victims. Watching this well done film has prompted me to furthur search this story. .....
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2012
    A gut-wrenching tale, based on a true story, of the campaign by Margaret Humphreys, a British social worker, to understand how and why thousands of children were torn from their families and sent to Australia and other colonies, to live in horrible conditions. Emily Watson is a tour de force as the woman who would not relent until she had some answers for these lost souls who came to her for help in trying to find who they are. An excellent supporting cast, a tight script and a compelling story come together to make this an emotional journey and a recommended film.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Jan 28, 2012
    Honourable mention: one of the worst films of 2011.
    Robert F Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2011
    In "Oranges and Sunshine," Margaret Humphreys(Emily Watson) is a social worker in Nottingham, England in 1986 who is first seen in assisting in taking a baby away from a mother unable to care for her. One night after a group therapy session, she is accosted by a woman who claimed to be deported to Australia when she was a child and is now seeking her birth mother. Some time later, Margaret hears a similar story from a woman trying to contact her brother who was sent to Australia at about the same time. Thinking they may not be exactly isolated cases, she contacts Australia House for information which she does not receive but does instead get confirmation which is almost as valuable. With the support of her husband Merv(Richard Dillane), the next stop for Margaret is Australia. Written by Rona Munro and directed by Jim Loach, "Oranges and Sunshine" may be a little rough around the edges but still packs a wallop in depicting a real life tragedy. The movie does not take the easy way out by showing the reunions and the emotional climax is satisfying in a subtle way, as we are not sure what is going on at first. As the final credits reveal, there were about 130,000 children involved in the deportation which went on to 1970.(According to one account I read, white Australians were afraid of being outnumbered by Aborigines.) Where the movie excels in the place of a potential documentary is in telling the personal stories of heartbreak of those deported who were victimized not only by separation but also from abuse.(And Hugo Weaving is superb in playing one of the grown men.) Margaret is deeply touched by those she encounters as she undergoes an emotional journey which is never easy and still continues to the present day. Along the way, she learns she is not alone and becomes a part of a much larger family while receiving support from her own.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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