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A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a nine year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.



(screenplay), (story)
883 ( 171)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Young ...
Lorry Ayers ...
Brendan Wall ...
Mustafa Abdelkarim ...
Landon Norris ...


Kate and John Coleman are rebuilding their troubled marriage. Kate had a drinking problem, but is in therapy and is doing well. She has been sober for one year. The couple decide to adopt a child. When they meet the nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther, at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan. Their young son, Daniel, is hostile to his new sister; but their deaf daughter, little Max, is enchanted with her - at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically disturbed. John refuses to listen to his wife's misgivings, and the wounds in their marriage reopen. Kate calls Sister Abigail at the orphanage, and the nun informs her that Esther has a troubled and mysterious history. Kate delves further into Esther's past and discovers she is not all she pretends to be. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Das Böse hat ein neues zuhause. (Evil has a new home.) [Germany] See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

24 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Orphan  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,871,483 (USA) (24 July 2009)


$41,573,740 (USA) (2 October 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Kate is in the car with Danny and Max she asks if Esther hurt them. The sign Kate uses for Esther's name, known as a name sign in the Deaf community, is also the sign for 'emergency.' See more »


When Kate climbs out of the ice hole in the pond, she is wet and her hair is wet when she picks up Max. But when there is a close up of her kissing Max, Kate's hair is dry. Her hair is wet again in the next distance shot. See more »


[first lines]
John Coleman: Hang on. I know. You're doin' so good. You're doin' so good, honey. You all right?
Kate Coleman: Yeah.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At both the beginning and end of the movie, the title briefly changes to a scratchier, more sinister font, surrounded by fluorescent paint. This effect also occurs with many of the names shown in the end title sequence. See more »


Referenced in Chiller 13: The Decade's Scariest Movie Moments (2010) See more »


83 Folk Theme
Written by Normand Corbeil
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One word - Impressive
25 July 2009 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

Every once in a while a film seems destined to slip under the radar either by poor promotion or a trailer that makes the viewer go "meh". Orphan is one of those flicks that, while benefiting from a decent studio push, simply didn't impart any compelling reason to check it out based on the trailer, which is too bad because this is actually one tight little thriller.

Directed by Spain's Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax), it tells the story of Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a 9-year old Russian orphan who is adopted by Kate and John Coleman (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) , a decision motivated in part by the stillborn birth of their third child.

An oddball from the start, Esther at first charms the Colemans with her personality, artistic flair, and independence, however it's apparent that there's more going on with Esther than meets the eye. She quickly forms a bond with Max (Aryana Engineer), the couple's deaf daughter, by learning sign language, but is resented by their son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) who views her with contempt. All of which forms a basis for familial tension, further compounded by the skeletons of Kate's history of alcoholism and John's past infidelity.

Telling a surprisingly layered story that strays into uncomfortable territory given how it deals with children in peril, the shiniest gem in this entertaining nugget is that of Isabelle Fuhrman, upon whose performance the movie succeeds or fails. While acting is uniformly top notch throughout, Fuhrman spectacularly establishes herself as one of the most remarkable young talents currently working in cinema, and that's a statement not to be taken lightly. This 12-year-old, who had only one prior film credit on her resume, simply blazes her way across the screen in a performance that ranges from sweet to seductive to psychotic. This is her movie and she makes the most of it, and if she doesn't mature into one of Hollywood's premier stars, I'll be most surprised.

Orphan won't win any awards (despite Fuhrman's impressive performance) and might well get passed over by many based on the trailer, all of which is too bad because this is one stray that movie audiences would do well to adopt.

135 of 175 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The husband was so unbelievable he almost ruined the movie scotty999
What dumbass adoptive parents would choose Esther? LOL. kentry
Esther's broken arm peggy714
Having sex in the kitchen while kids are in the house... lieben79
Would You Let Your 10 Year Old Daughter Play Esther? Cookiecrumb444
The wrist scars and the cast ASaloka2010
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