Friday, February 15, 2013

MOVIE WEEKEND: ORANGES AND SUNSHINE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I present for your consideration a docudrama entitled Oranges and Sunshine, starring Emily Watson (2010, available on DVD).


During the 1980s, a British social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Watson) was approached by a woman from Australia who said she had been born in England but deported to Australia as a child, along with many other children. The woman wanted to know what had happened to her mother.

Humphreys told the woman that her story couldn't possibly be true -- that such a thing would be illegal.

And yes, it was illegal, but it was true. And it didn't happen to a handful of children. During the 1940s and '50s, perhaps as many as 150,000 children were shipped from England to other countries of the Commonwealth where they were used as slave labor.

Thus, the movie follows Humphreys as she uncovers the nefarious scheme and works to reunite the now grown-up children with the parents who surrendered them for adoption or placed them in children's homes temporarily and lost them permanently (some children had been orphaned). The movie focuses on children who were sent to Australia -- thus, the title. One of the men states that when he was a child he was told he could go to Australia and pick oranges off the trees for his breakfast and the sun would shine every day, he would live in a white house, and ride a horse to school. Then he was told he was going no matter what because his mother was dead.

But, his mother wasn't dead. And he didn't get oranges and sunshine.

Obviously, this story is a very sad one, and it's dramatic enough in its own right. It doesn't need over-the-top acting. Fortunately, the performances are just right. Watson is the constantly calm presence that steers the movie.

I'm sorry to say that Oranges and Sunshine doesn't have a wildly happy ending, but how could it? The   movie certainly made me want to learn more about the deportation and about Margaret Humphreys. I found a wealth of information about her with a simple click on Google.

We do have the world at our fingertips these days, don't we?

Dee, I'm not sure how you would feel about this movie. It would probably speak to the abandonment you experienced, but I don't know if it would be cathartic or if it would add to your pain.

I wish that the reason for making this movie didn't exist, but because the film is well made, I give Oranges and Sunshine The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval. But unless you're really curious about people who were cruel to children and got away with it for many years until one woman stood up for the truth, maybe you should find a comedy to watch.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




26 comments:

  1. This sounds like a very sobering movie.

    Thanks for the nice comments you left on my blog yesterday. You made my day! Hugs!

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    1. Sobering and shocking, and you're welcome.

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  2. Sounds like a very interesting movie. Those poor children.

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    1. Really horrible things happened to the children. It's quite upsetting.

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  3. I wasn't aware of English children being deported. I'll pass on the movie, but will probably research the topic. Thanks!

    Happy weekend!

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    1. Margaret Humphreys wrote a book called "Empty Cradles." If you want to do research beyond Google, the book is probably interesting.

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  4. I LOVED Emily in Gosford Park. Maybe I'll just watch that again. Speaking of Gosford Park, Sunday night is the last DA as I'm sure you know.

    I Netflixed The Station Agent, and You Can Count on Me last weekend. I've seen them before and still love them. I can't do movie reviews, so I'll give them thumbs up in this comment space. Thanks for that.

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    1. I love Gosford Park and The Station Agent. You Can Count On Me sounds familiar. And, yes, I know the last DA is Sunday night. I hate it when each season ends. I want it to go on and on. You know the writer and producer of DA was also the writer of Gosford Park. Notice the similarities?

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  5. Never heard of the movie ever...............no idea if I would like it or not.........

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    1. I'd never heard of it until recently when I saw the trailer on another DVD I rented. It sounded intriguing.

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  6. This does sound interesting; one I'll have to watch when I'm home alone; hubby and son tend to "shy" away from movies like this. Have to thank you for the review you did a few weeks back on Flight; we rented it this past week and enjoyed it (except I'm never flying again :)

    betty

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    1. I'm glad you liked Flight. I think it will be quite a while before I want to get on a plane again.

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  7. So much about the good old day is now coming to light and much of it wasn't so good.

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    1. The good old days were as bad as the bad new days -- the truth just wasn't as well publicized.

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  8. it's interesting. will pick it up surely. thanks.

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful film. Sadly, I have heard many stories similar to the one you mention. It was such a travesty of human rights, wasn't it?

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    1. Eventually, the British government apologized. Too little, too late.

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  10. On my DVD wish list. I'm glad it has your seal of approval.

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  11. sounds so sad. Love to watch it but sad movies like this makes me depressed sometimes. Specially if children are involved.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. It is a sad movie, but also a fascinating story.

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  12. thanks for the insight 0 never heard of it -- I am interested..
    \
    Hugs

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  13. Sounds like a fascinating but sad story............

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  14. I really like Emily Watson. She's played in some eclectic films but I've like them.
    R

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  15. Sounds great. Thanks for recommendation. Will put it on my lovefilm list....

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