In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.
A woman named Grace retires with her two children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she's waiting for her husband to come back from battle. The children have a disease which means they cannot be touched by direct sunlight without being hurt in some way. They will live alone there with oppressive, strange and almost religious rules, until she needs to hire a group of servants for them. Their arrival will accidentally begin to break the rules with unexpected consequences. Written by
Anne's description of what ghosts look like, i.e. people under white sheets with chains, might be a reference to Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol, wherein Scrooge is haunted by his dead partner who is cursed to wander the world while dragging chains. This could also be reinforced by the fact that Anne said she read the description in a book. See more »
When Grace asks Anne about the "ghosts" who are running in the house, she puts her hands on Anne's head, in the next shot, Grace's hands are on the girl's neck. See more »
Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... This story started many thousands of years ago, and it was all over in just 7 days. All that long long time ago, none of the things we can see now, the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, the animals and plants, not a single one existed. Only God existed. And so only he could have created them. And he did.
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Before the opening credits or music begin, we hear Grace's voice over a black screen; she says (in the manner of a mother about to tell a bedtime story), "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin." See more »
If I had to sum up this movie in a word, it would be "chilling." The Others is a delightfully atmospheric suspense film. It's tense, scary, and very memorable -- I don't think I'll ever forget the image of a terrified Nicole Kidman clutching her rosary beads around her shotgun as she tears down the halls of her dreadful Victorian mansion.
Writer/director/composer Alejandro Amenabar creates a dark, dark atmosphere, in which you feel like you can't trust anyone. Nicole Kidman, in her brilliant performance as Grace, is supposedly the "heroine" of the film, but as I watched the movie I found myself more frightened of her than rooting for her; steely and overbearing, with a hint of psychotic hysteria in her icy eyes. And then the children, (held their own and even stole a few scenes from the more experienced players) were just hellishly creepy. The little girl was one of the most ominous characters I have ever seen in a film. And the servants (who were also finely played) will keep you guessing the whole way through. Every time you think you have it figured out, some of the household help will pop up and throw the whole framework off-kilter.
The real attraction in this film is Nicole Kidman, following up her bravura performance as Satine in "Moulin Rouge" with a woman teetering between insanity and iron control. Grace has so many layers, and Kidman reveals almost all of them through her face. The film is anchored by her presence, and she plays off the other actors extremely well -- note the tense relationship she has with Anne, her daughter. When the two lock eyes, it's like watching two trains crash head-first into one another.
The only disappointment in this movie is the ending, which is slightly anti-climactic. When you get to it, you'll be satisfied, and it ties up everything that's happened in the movie up to that point quite well. But it seemed almost anti-climactic, and I was left feeling a little bit let down.
Overall, I gave The Others a 9/10.
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