Orphans (1997) - Synopsis

ORPHANS is the first feature film from the award-winning team of writer/director Peter Mullan and producer Frances Higson. A powerful and moving story of a family facing a deep emotional crisis, the film is also peppered with bittersweet moments of black humour.

The four adult children of Mrs Flynn, Thomas (Gary Lewis), Michael (Douglas Henshall), Sheila (Rosemarie Stevenson) and John (Stephen McCole), gather at the family home in Glasgow to mourn their recently deceased mother and prepare for her funeral in the morning. As a violent storm tears through the city, the brothers and their sister are torn apart during a long, dark night full of mishaps and misunderstandings.

Thomas, the eldest son, who feels he is the most dutiful of Mrs Flynn's children, decides to stay in the chapel overnight with his mother's body. Michael, bleeding badly from a wound received in a pub fight, tries to survive the night in order to claim compensation for his wound as an industrial injury at his job. Sheila, bored by Thomas's insistence on staying in the chapel decides to go home alone but her wheelchair breaks down, leaving her to the mercy and kindness of strangers. John, angry about Michael's injury at the hands of DD Duncan, teams up with his cousin Tanga and together they plan a brutal revenge.

Hurt, angry and confused, each member of the family must find their own way to come to terms with their grief through 24 hours of emotional and meteorological turbulence. As the city emerges from the storm, battered and bruised, so too must the family emerge and reunite to mourn their mother.

Beyond Films