Oranges and Sunshine stars Emily Watson from one of the most underappreciated films ever Breaking the Waves here she plays Margaret Humphreys a British social worker in 1986. The subject matter of this film is disturbing, almost to the fact that it is almost hard to be believed. And yet, remarkably, it is a very true recounting of one of the largest scandals of recent memory. In 1986, a British social worker named Margaret Humphreys started to piece together an amazing and harrowing story that involved the mass deportation of children from the United Kingdom to Australia. What she discovered was stunning and also noteworthy. The scandal involved political corruption and cover-up, religious impropriety, human rights violations, slave labor, systematic abuse and a government program that divided hundreds of families and kids disappeared without a trace. This is a story that needs to be told; it’s hard to imagine that it took this long to get a film like this out. Now, with a subject matter like this you would expect this film to be over the top and in your face, and that was the odd part, this film seemed to take a more silent approach to the subject matter and let the situation weigh on you instead of forcing it to. Which to me worked at moments and did not work at moments. With this subject matter you really need the over the top approach as opposed to a restrained performance.
My issue with this film is Emily Watson, she is almost too restrained in her portrayal, and never given a chance to take the material and make it hers. She seems like she is just painting inside the lines and trying not to go outside of them. Hugo Weaving also stars, and he as well seems to be missing that spark to really carry this film. I mean, I liked the majority of what he film offered and found myself interested, but I just know the talent involved in this film could do so much better. The screenplay for the most part was very well done, and the dialogue was ok. I just know with the powerhouse casting that this is not their finest hour.
This is not a total miss and should be seen, I just expected it to have more powerful performances and less laid back feeling to it. The subject matter is deeply disturbing and given it is based on true events; make this more of a watch just to see what went down and how it was handled. As a whole, I say it is worth a watch, not really anything more.
6 out of 10