7.4/10
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340 user 312 critic

The Orphanage (2007)

El orfanato (original title)
Trailer
2:13 | Trailer
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Writer:

Sergio G. Sánchez (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,749 ( 492)
32 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Belén Rueda ... Laura
Fernando Cayo ... Carlos
Roger Príncep ... Simón
Mabel Rivera ... Pilar
Montserrat Carulla ... Benigna
Andrés Gertrúdix ... Enrique
Edgar Vivar ... Prof. Leo Bálaban
Óscar Casas ... Tomás
Mireia Renau Mireia Renau ... Laura niña
Georgina Avellaneda Georgina Avellaneda ... Rita
Carla Gordillo Carla Gordillo ... Martín
Alejandro Camps Alejandro Camps ... Víctor
Carmen López Carmen López ... Alicia
Óscar Lara Óscar Lara ... Guillermo
Geraldine Chaplin ... Aurora
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Storyline

Laura, a former orphan, raises her adopted son Simón together with her husband Carlos in an old house and former orphanage where she was raised. While at the orphanage Simón tells Laura that he has five invisible friends which she believes are a product of his active imagination. Laura decides to reopen the orphanage to cater for disabled children and throws a party. During the party Simón tries to persuade Laura to go and take a look at his friends cabin but she's too busy. Later on she sees a mysterious masked boy and realizes that Simón has also disappeared. Laura feels the presence of other people in the house and months later Laura invites a team of parapsychologists to try to unravel the mystery. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Un cuento de amor. Una historia de terror (A tale of love. A story of horror) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Overawed at being in the company of acting veteran Geraldine Chaplin, J.A. Bayona broke the ice on her first day by hiding under a bed and grabbing her leg when she knelt down in the dark. Chaplin's scream in the film is one of genuine surprise. See more »

Goofs

Simon enters the basement from the same door as his mother. It may appear the door was held closed by the wallpaper, and it would have been necessary to rip it apart in order to open the door but, if seen carefully, the wallpaper was tidily cut at the door's edges so it could work normally. Laura tears a bit of the wallpaper, but only for her search purposes. See more »

Quotes

Simón: [while reading Peter Pan] Wendy grows old and dies?
Laura: Wendy grows old, but Peter Pan takes her daughter to Neverland every year.
Simón: Why doesn't Wendy go, too? If Peter Pan came to get me, would you come, too?
Laura: No. I'm too old to go to Neverland, darling.
Simón: How old are you?
Laura: Thirty-seven.
Simón: At what age will you die?
Laura: What sort of question is that? Not for a long time, until you're very old.
Simón: I won't grow old. I'm not going to grow up.
Laura: Will you be like Peter Pan?
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Pieces of wallpaper are peeled off to reveal each of the opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Felt (2014) See more »

User Reviews

 
Beautifully Sad Catholic Fairy Tale
14 January 2008 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

Laura (Belen Rueda) returns to the orphanage she spent time in as a child with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and little boy Simon (Roger Princep) in hopes of re-establishing it as seaside retreat for children with disabilities only to find there may be some former residents who never left. In Juan Antonio Bayona's tightly wound "The Orphanage" nothing is as it seems and child's play takes on sinister overtones.

Bayona belongs to this new wave of Spanish-language directors (most notably Del Torro and Amenabar) who excel when it comes to creating moody atmospheric tales of the supernatural with Catholic overtones. Whereas "Pan's Labyrinth" took a dark fantasy approach to a Passion Play, "The Orphanage" is closer to the classic haunted house themes of "The Others" as it attempts to give a sentimental view of life after death. Be warned, "The Orphanage" is often more sad than scary, and those not familiar with Catholic mysticism might find things a bit hard to believe. As goes the film's mantra...Believe, Then You Will See. Those with the patience and the heart will be greatly rewarded as the audience doesn't necessarily have to Believe to relate to the characters who do.

Working from refined "less is more" psychological horror templates, Bayona delivers the formulaic goods. There will be a simplistic but heartfelt exploration of grief. There will be allusions to classic literature (in this case a very nicely done "Peter Pan" as Catholic allegory motif). There will be uncovering dark secrets from the past. There will be precocious children with spooky imaginary friends. There will be creaking set designs and manipulative sound effects to create "gotcha!" moments. There will be a creepy medium (an excellent Geraldine Chaplin) brought in for a séance. And there will be a twist at the end.

Thankfully, there is also a great performance from Belen Rueda as Laura. She gives a compelling portrayal of a woman devoured by her loss and achingly desperate for the truth no matter how horrific that truth might be. One must have a cold heart not to find sympathy with her, and even the most hardened audience member will find it hard not to feel that stray tear form in the corner of their trembling eye when all is revealed. "The Orphanage" offers nothing terribly new, but sometimes the same old ghost story presented in a beautiful way makes for the best type of cold-rainy-day entertainment.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Spain | Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Orphanage See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR3,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$233,323, 30 December 2007

Gross USA:

$7,161,284

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$78,638,987
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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