This is what was told to a young boy in care in England in the 1950s who was then shipped over to Australia with promises of a new life. Sadly though, this is not what awaited the thousands of children who were shipped over there during the course of more than a decade. What awaited them was slave labour in blistering heat and no family, no love, no support. Just abuse and the most degrading punishments for being weak and useless.
But this film is not their story.
This film is the story of Margaret Humphreys (played by the brilliant Emily Watson), a social worker in the 1980s who randomly came across the story of a girl who had been shipped to Australia as a young girl as she had been put into care after the death of her parents. She was now in the UK trying to track down her birth certificate and identity. While working with this woman, Margaret discovers that the woman's mother who was supposedly long dead is actually alive and well.
This starts Margaret's investigation, along with her eternally supportive husband (also a Social Worker), into the lives of thousands of children who experienced similar stories. Margaret starts to spend months away from her family and young children interviewing these people in Australia and trying to track down their roots. In doing so, the detail of these stories starts to take its toll on her health and life in general but she carries on regardless in what becomes a touching story of human longing and the search for meaning in life through history, identity and family.
I should also mention that it was brilliant to see Hugo "Mr Anderson" Weaving playing such a loveable character. His portrayal of Jack was touching, funny, heartbreaking and honest and made me want to give him a hug every time he was on screen. His relationship with his newly discovered English sister and their search for their mother is one of the most endearing parts of the film. And he comes to Margaret's rescue when people take a severe disliking to her. What a guy!
5 out of 5 FOBLES!!!