• The Arbor (2011)

The Arbor

Release Date: April 27th, 2011

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2011

Not Yet Rated |1 hr 34 min

Plot Summary

A mix of documentary and fictional elements tells the story of doomed playwright Andrea Dunbar, who wrote about the difficult life she endured growing up in England's Bradford housing projects. Archival footage featuring Dunbar is presented, along with interviews with family members, including her daughter, Lorraine, who led a similarly troubled life. Excerpts from Dunbar's most famous play, "The Arbor," are performed on the streets of her hometown and at Buttershaw Estates, where she lived.

Cast: Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley, Neil Dudgeon, Natalie Gavin, Robert Emms, Parvani Lingiah, Danny Webb, Liam Price

Director: Clio Barnard

Genres: Docudrama

Keywords: Mother , 1980s , Dark , Daughter , 2000s , Son , Escape , 1970s ,

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Loren KingBoston Globe

    An innovative hybrid of documentary, staged reading, fictional feature, and confessional, The Arbor defies categorization not merely for art's sake - although its artistry is without question - but because conventional forms seem inadequate for such a harrowing story. show more

  • 80
    Joshua RothkopfTime Out

    The Arbor's pummeling second half begins with the collapse of its celebrity subject; the following spirals of self-destruction make you suspect that some childhoods are simply too hard to escape. Tough, worthy stuff. show more

  • 80
    Anna SmithEmpire

    Moving, bold, unconventional and impeccably staged, The Arbor is a worthy tribute to a powerfully artistic voice. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (2011)