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
Being a Spanish co-production, this film went on after its release on September 7, 2001, to become Spain's biggest grossing domestic film of all time after less than two months of release. However, in 2014, the box office record was broke by Ocho apellidos vascos (2014). See more »
Grace says the house does not have electricity. However, when Anne is standing and reciting to her mother as punishment, the table to the left of Anne has a statue of a horse on it which is clearly backlit by the white light of an electric bulb. In the following shots as Anne and Grace argue about Anne's forgiveness, the light is gone. 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 »
Theatrical releases included a longer credit sequence with sketches of Nicole Kidman in the attic and the servants, SFX differences, and some lines of dialogue that were deleted from all subsequent home media releases and TV airings (most notably to make certain plot revelations less obvious). See more »
I'll have to admit that I put off watching this movie despite being told by several friends that it was pretty good and worth checking out. That's mostly because "scary" movies usually turn out to be nothing but crap riddled, cheap thrill fests with terrible acting by actors just looking for their next handout...not to mention directors that care nothing about the progress of their careers. That and the slew of B- horror/thriller movies that seemed to come out very close together along with this movie made me a little apprehensive. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
First off, I'd like to say that I have yet to see The Sixth Sense, so I cannot comment on any similarities between the two films that I have heard exist.
Grace (Kidman) and her two young photosensitive (X.P.) children live in a sprawling old house together in England in the 1940's and await the return of their father and husband who went off to fight the Germans in WWII. As a result of the children's very rare and dangerous skin condition, all of the house's curtains must be shut during the day and all of the doors must be closed and locked to prevent any accidental solar exposure to the children. Despite the warnings from her children and new found servants, strange things begin to happen in the house which Grace chooses not to accept or investigate...partly because of her zealous religious beliefs which leave her closed minded and ignorant to things outside her psychological realm of thinking. Sooner or later, she will have to come to terms with what's going on...
Kidman's acting is admirable in this movie, and although I usually have a hard time enjoying her films, I felt she did a very decent job here. I think she was born to play a stubborn, hard nosed, uptight tart, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I especially enjoyed the acting performances from both of the children. Both are talented child actors and were definitely helped by the script which captured what it's like to be a child. I was constantly reminded of my own childhood amongst the belittling and teasing between the two, and of course the naive and adorable fears. The film is shot beautifully and has a lot of atmosphere, partly due to the fact that since the children are photosensitive, the house must always be dark, and the director definitely likes to play with that. There's something else that helps the film's atmosphere as well, the fog, which obviously adds to the general spookiness. But I'll leave that one alone as it plays an important role herein. The score helps as well, and is well placed and executed.
Overall, I found this to be a very respectable and enjoyable film in almost all respects, and I no longer consider Kidman a pretty face begging for nude scenes. I felt it was very well thought out, and if it weren't for a minor plothole involving Grace's husband, I would have ranked it higher.
Easily a solid 8/10.
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