Oranges and Sunshine | Chicago Reader

Oranges and Sunshine

Rated R 105 minutes 2011

Jim Loach, son of the great social-realist filmmaker Ken Loach, has been directing British TV for more than a decade, but this fact-based drama is his first theatrical feature. Emily Watson stars as Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker who discovered in 1987 that, between the mid-50s and mid-60s, the United Kingdom had secretly deported as many as 150,000 poor, native-born children to Australia and other nations of the British Commonwealth. This outrageous abuse of power ought to be much better known, and the plight of children torn from their country—and, in many cases, their indigent parents, who were told they'd been adopted—is inherently dramatic. But centering the story on Humphreys' crusade to expose and address the scandal puts the viewer in the position of an angrily righteous witness, comfortably removed from the situation. The result is a problem drama with more problem than drama. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham costar.

Film Credits

Director: Jim Loach

Cast: Emily Watson, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, Richard Dillane, Lorraine Ashbourne, Kate Rutter, Greg Stone, Tara Morice and Stuart Wolfenden

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