Oranges and Sunshine (2010)
I was recommended to watch this film by my sister Kelly. It’s a co-Australian-UK production that broadly explores a tremendous injustice made by the British and Australian governments in the 1950’s-70’s. 130,000 children were deported from the UK to work in Australian Christian/Catholic/Government organisations for roughly a decade per child. The children were originally given up for “adoption” either voluntarily or in some cases involuntarily and told that their parents had died and the land that they are being transferred to is full of oranges and sunshine. In actual fact, they were transported to horrible conditions throughout Australia becoming wards of the state.
I have been a great admirer of Emily Watson since her remarkable performance in Breaking Waves (1996) and still find her a pleasure to watch. Although, she was not given much to work with in this role. She became more of a vessel that threaded together the narrative rather than an integral participant. Similarly, both Hugo Weaving and David Wenham delivered good performances with what they were handed.
Both debut feature director Jim Loach and screenwriter Rona Munro did their best with such epic subject matter although technically the film feels quite clunky in some instances. I was intrigued with the dialogue, it being a mix of both a simple realistic approach and exposing candor. It is commendable to see such an approach. I myself try to aim for such realistic dialogue in my writing also and know how challenging it is to balance with what technically needs to be written to make a scene work.
Overall, i believe this story needed to be told and one feels that the filmmakers felt that heavy responsibility when crafting this narrative. I only wished they had gone through a few more drafts before heading into production.