Can’t turn a blind eye

This is my review of Oranges and Sunshine [DVD].

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.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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