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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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This film is incredible.

It is a powerful story of triumph over adversity, its shocking, heartbreaking and astounding.

Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson are utterly brilliant in their leading roles, the level of emotion and truth is astonishing, i am surprised that they have not been nominated for awards for their performances.

A great supporting cast include David Wenham from lord of the rings fame.

Brief 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.(sic)

Both the British and Australian Governments have apologised now for their involvements in this scandal, but its a little too late. To be honest i am appalled that not only the Government knew about it but that they were the ones that did it.

When you see what these poor kids go through i am amazed that nobody has bought a criminal suit against them (the british and australian governments) for wilful neglect and abuse and intentional physical and emotional distress.

I really could not recommend this film highly enough, it is quite simply incredible, be warned though that you will cry, a lot, and im not just talking about you ladies either, the scenes where they reunite some of these children with the parents they were told were dead will have you sobbing.

If i could rate it higher i would!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2011
The cruel deception of thousands of British children in care, misinformed that they were orphans and then transported to Australia as a cost-saving policy continued until as recently as 1970. A documentary of this would be shocking enough, but the director Jim Loach, carrying on his father Ken's tradition, achieves an even more powerful effect by making this a docudrama.

Emily Watson gives a convincing and moving performance as the determined real-life social worker Margaret Humphreys who discovered by chance that this injustice existed, and that many children had suffered hardship, even abuse, providing cheap labour for the Christian Brothers in Australia. Her establishment of the Child Migrants Trust has helped to put many naturalised Australians back in touch with their birth parents in Britain after decades of separation, but the indelible effects of childhood trauma often remain. We see the irony that Humphreys' dedication to making amends for the cruelty of others was often at the expense of giving enough time to her own children.

This thought-provoking and well-made film is worth seeing. It may leave you depressed for a while but we can't pretend ostrich-like that this never happened.
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The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And it was good intentions that condemned 130,000 children to an appalling hell. They were effectively deported from this country to Australia, with the collusion of the British and Australian governments. When there they did not find the oranges and sunshine they had been enticed with, but many were condemned to a living hell of forced labour and abuse that left them scarred. When did all this happen? Not Victorian times as you might imagine, but right up until the 1970's. Children were told that their parents had died and parents told that their children had been adopted into loving families, huge untruths, in order to get them away. It was all done with the best of intentions, the authorities here seemed to truly believe that they were being sent to a better life (but surely someone in authority must have had an idea of what they were going to?), but it is results that matter, not intentions, and the results were an obscene blot on the history of two nations that like to call themselves civilised.

What was even worse was that the governments tried to cover up what had been done, and did everything they could to evade responsibility, in the final insult to the children they had betrayed denying them the opportunity to find their real families. This film tells the story of one woman's fight to uncover the truth, and to reunite families on opposite sides of the world. It is a very restrained and understated film, almost documentary like, and has a more powerful impact because of it. No histrionics here, just the bald, simple truth. It's powerful stuff. Emily Watson as the social worker drawn into the investigation which slowly takes over her life, and Hugo Weaving as one of the victims that she forms a strong bond with are great performances, very naturalistic.

In all a moving film, and one that reveals a shocking episode in our history. 5 stars.
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on 8 October 2011
I was told by a family member that I should watch this DVD, as we had a relative who was sent to Canada. However, he was sent before this awful period started - he was a Barnardo's boy, as was my Father and my cousin's Father. To say that I was appalled by the Governments involved in this awful scandal, even after all these years, is an understatement. Why did it take so long for these poor people to get an apology - for what it was worth ! Anyway, this is a film well worth watching, but as far as I am concerned, rather "heart string" tugging to say the least. Again, well worth a watch.
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on 3 August 2011
The film received positive reviews and prompted me to watch the film. After watching the film, I am deeply shocked, upset and distressed about the events unfolding.

The social scandal featured in the film attracted widespread media headlines during the mid 80's. A professional and caring social worker Margaret Humphreys uncovered one of the biggest social scandals to emerge in history. It was about the organised deportation of children from United Kingdom to Australia. The number of children deported was staggering.

It raises important questions about the government within that time. Why did the British and Australian government hide this matter under the carpet at the time? This is beyond belief. The government apologised for their involvement, but it was little late and should really hurt their conscious. The children were taken in care and betrayed, as they were deprived of a family life and treated with cruelty in care centres in Australia. The issues of trust and integrity are deeply questioned.

It shows care centres in a negative and shocking light. Margaret puts her life in danger, as she headed on a long journey to Australia to begin her mission of reuniting thousands of children with their loves ones, but with mixed results. She ensured the authorities responsible for this were held accountable and also fighting for justice on this disagraceful matter. I almost shed in tears whilst hearing the personal experiences of the victims affected by this horrific event. These scenes can be described as emotional, as the victims were into tears understandably and living in hope of finding their loves ones. I felt a general feeling of sympathy and empathy towards the victims. How can be humanity be so cruel? I am glad goodness exists, as Margaret's reassuring and kind character illustrates.

The film is an inspiring and true story about a brave social worker. It is engaging, provoking and emotional to watch. The acting is beautiful and cannot be faulted at all. Oranges and Sunshine is a powerful story that really stays in your mind as it raises important questions.
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on 2 August 2015
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 again....it 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....
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on 27 February 2013
This film makes you ashamed of your country. That 50,000 children from as young as 3 years old, could be forcibly deported to Australia with no records of who they were and told that their parents were dead from the 1950s until as recently as the 1970s where, in the main, they were appallingly treated and it took 50 years for the truth to be uncovered almost by accident just beggars belief. This is a very moving film. Be prepared to weep.
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on 1 July 2014
It is described in the book it was based on as 'now a major film' but if it hadn't been for the fact some relatives of mine were involved in the Australian side of the filming I would have missed it entirely. The book must be read as well and this is a rare case of the film being a very close match to the book - how refreshing!. Emily Watson is superb, but as she says in an extra on the DVD where she, the producer, Margaret Humphreys and others are interviewed (very amatuerishly filmed) immediately after a public viewing none of the questions from the audience are about the film but about the awful issue of Child Migration that the film is about. It's a pity this film didn't get the publicity that 'Philomena' did - more people would be aware of this human tragedy for which the British & Australians should feel terrible shame.
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on 11 October 2011
wonderful and sometimes harrowing account of a programme for populating a country by deceipt, and also of the cover up by the church of how innocent children were not given the proper loving care you would have expected from such a body of people
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on 8 September 2011
A truly excellent film, concerning what must be one the the biggest cover-ups & social injustices ever. Brilliant cast, a must-see film
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