Orphan

2009-08-26 15:38
 

What it's about:

Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) loses her third baby and decides, with her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard), that they will adopt to fill the void in their lives. At an orphanage open day they meet Russian nine-year-old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), who appears to be the perfect child. Esther seems to get along well with her new siblings, but disturbing incidents start to happen around her as soon as she gets home. Kate suspects there is more to Esther than meets the eye and tries to investigate her mysterious past while the little girl worms her way further into the Coleman family, driving the couple apart and putting their children in jeopardy.

What we thought:


It’s a given that if you’ve seen one creepy evil kid movie (The Omen, The Good Son, Joshua, etc), you’ve seen them all, and this one isn’t really going to break any boundaries. Knowing what to expect from a movie need not spoil it, though, and Orphan does a pretty good job of keeping you on the edge of your seat with scares aplenty, even if it all seems hauntingly familiar.

Orphan’s strength lies in the acting of the leads – Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard make a very convincing middle class couple whose lives are as miserable as their surroundings are lush and picturesque. We particularly feel for Kate, as she battles with depression after her losing her baby, as well as an alcoholic past that is never far from the surface. It is this mix of distraught family drama and Hitchcockian frights that makes up the lion’s share of the movie, and Orphan maintains a suitably claustrophobic atmosphere without ever lapsing into farce.

Isabelle Fuhrman is the other reason Orphan works so well. For such a young actress, she pulls off a more convincing Jekyll and Hyde turn than 90% of movie psychos out there. She also looks the part – plucked straight out of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and stuck in the middle of suburbia. Having such an engaging villain is a big plus that puts Orphan in the same league as frankly much better quality movies.

Of course the downside is that it is clichéd to the extreme. There is an immense amount of clumsy foreshadowing as well as a few too many predictable outcomes. When there are surprises, they are good, and in the balance between thrilling and boring, thankfully a good two thirds of Orphan is nail-biting stuff.

You will probably know already whether you’ll enjoy Orphan or not. If you’re looking for some non-taxing thrills and a tense atmosphere, then you should feel satisfied. If you want the new Holy Grail of horror or a cleverly constructed cerebral thriller, it is best avoided.
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A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be

video freak 2009/08/21 3:00 PM
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What a great movie!
Recato Eberwein 2009/08/21 11:38 PM
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I like Finding Nemo more. More adult orientated then this family movie.
Kaapenaar 2009/08/22 8:15 AM
Is it on DVD yet?
preshen govender 2009/08/24 8:42 AM
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After this movie I will never want to adopt a child.
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