Oranges and Sunshine
Run time 105 minutes Cert 15
Oranges and Sunshine is the story of Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson), a social worker from Nottingham, who one day is approached by a woman with an Australian accent, who claims too have been deported as a child with a lot of other children and was told her parents were dead, she says she doesn’t know who she is and just wants too find out. At first Margret doesn’t believe her and says no, but the next day, one of the people she helps, mentions that she has a brother who believes the same thing happened to him, Margret then agrees to help the woman with the Australian accent, but then discovers, that this happened to hundreds of children, many with parents that are still alive.
This is a true story in every sense of the word, this really did happen and Margaret Humphreys and her husband really did and still continue to help deported people find out who they are. don’t however think that this will be a true story Hollywooded up within an inch of its life, the heroin still is a real women, who looks like she has a high stress job, the husband Merv (Richard D’illane) is like a real husband, concerned but still wants her to be able to do this job and help in any way he can. Margaret isn’t how many hollywood actresses would play her, she cares, but doesn’t have time for everyone and in some scenes can be quite prickly with the people she doesn’t mean to be, it’s just the nature of her job.
Part of this is down to the actors, but mostly it’s down to the director Jim Loach, who wanted to keep the film as real and as much like it really happened as possible, and he succeeds, for the most part. my criticisms are small but I can’t help but feel they do stick out, first of all it’s meant to be set in the 80s but you can never tell, second the ending is a bit abrupt, it isn’t really dark but it just stops, but the final, most awful thing is the child actors he got to play Margaret and Merv’s children, they are completely wooden and whenever they are on-screen it is like nails an a chalkboard.
This is a dark film and is certainly not for kids in fact some of it’s darkest moments, are actually scary and it deals with themes of child rape and slavery, no you don’t see it, but in some ways that makes it even more troubling, because it essentially forces you to imagine these things, but also imagine what our heroine is going through we only hear a few of these story’s, she must hear hundreds throughout the corse of the film.
I love this film because it’s one of the only, “based on a true story” films I can think of that you can actually believe, I recommend it, no it isn’t a film I could just casually flick on, but I think that makes it even more special, the best thing though is that it’s very, very british.
Rating 4/5 if you can make it through it, this is defiantly an experience worth having.