Oranges and Sunshine is re-affirming evidence that not every remarkable true story a remarkable film makes. Based on the book Empty Cradles by British social worker Margaret Humphreys, the movie tells the story of its crusading subject, who worked to uncover one of the most shocking government-sanctioned scandals of modern times — the forced deportation of many thousands of children from the United Kingdom to Australia.
Both overall and scene-to-scene, though, the film exudes a just-fine feeling of dutiful emotional string-pulling, and nothing more. It commits no great and cringe-worthy offenses, but neither does it ever really get its hooks into an audience, and make them in a lasting way truly feel either the shock or heartbroken compassion its story should elicit. Mostly, though, Oranges and Sunshine is a “message movie” told in staid, blocky fashion, as if already edited down, content-wise, for a Hallmark-style TV presentation, and the lowest-common-denominator audience that medium occasionally implies. For the full, original review, from ShockYa, click here. (Sony Pictures Classics, R, 105 minutes)