Man in an Orange Shirt
Two connected love stories, set sixty years apart, bring to life both the thrill and heartbreak of gay love in post-World War II England, in this sophisticated BBC/Masterpiece drama making its U.S. premiere at the festival, and boasting star turns from Vanessa Redgrave and Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars, Little Women).
Michael and Thomas are British officers who return home together at the end of the war. Bonded by their experience and their attraction to each other, they retreat to the country cottage of Michael’s family for a blissful week of unimpeded intimacy. But before long, Michael feels the pull of his obligation to a woman back home, Flora, who’s expecting to marry him. Thomas, feeling frustrated and abandoned, turns elsewhere for intimacy and soon runs afoul of Britain’s draconian morality laws.
In the present day, Adam, a veterinary technician in London, relies on hook-up apps to quench his own desires. While Britain is now appreciably more tolerant of gay life, Adam has yet to fully accept himself. He keeps his identity largely hidden from his grandmother, Flora. When she hands him possession of the family’s cottage in the country, Adam solicits the help of an architect, Steve, to redesign and refurbish the home and begins to feel an inkling of the kind of companionship he’d never imagined for himself.
The two linked chapters of this engaging multigenerational love story are anchored by strong performances—including Redgrave as the older Flora, Morris as Adam, and Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael—and share the high-caliber production values of the best in British drama.
— MICHAEL LOPRESTI
KQED Public Broadcasting
The GLBT Historical Society
- Premiere Status: US