Kate and John Coleman are rebuilding their troubled marriage after the loss of their baby. The couple decide to adopt a child. When they meet 9-year-old Esther at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan. Their son, Daniel is hostile to his new sister, but their deaf mute daughter, Max is enchanted with her - at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically damaged. John refuses to listen to his wife's misgivings. 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 what she seems to be.Written by
After the end title sequence, the rest of the credits are, among other things, smeared and splattered with fluorescent paint, lipstick kisses, and Esther's violent artwork. A small heart is also painted next to "John" (Peter Sarsgaard) in the cast list. See more »
I didn't know much about this film before seeing it, but the write-up did intrigue me slightly so I thought I'd give it a go. It's a little too long for my liking, but quite well made if a little cliché in places. I guess I should have done a little more research, but then again I have uncovered the odd 'gem' this way in the past. But I digress; let's have a look at what Orphan is all about.
Kate and John Coleman have just lost their baby, a daughter they were going to call Jessica. She was dead at birth. Needing something to fill the void, they decide to adopt. By the way, they already have two children, a boy, Daniel, and a girl, Max, who is partially deaf and uses sign language to communicate. The family are comfortably off and live in a big house in the countryside. Visiting an orphanage, John meets a nine year old girl called Esther. She is originally from Russia and is delightful. He convinces Kate that she's the one and they bring her home a few weeks later. Unfortunately Esther is not what she seems and the Coleman's are in for a very bumpy ride as she sets about her plan for them. I'm not going to say any more on the plot, I believe that should be enough to intrigue you.
Although it was very well made I did have a bit of a problem sympathising with the Coleman's. It seems they have everything going for them in terms of lifestyle, job, financial security etc., but somehow that isn't enough for them. It's not as if their characters come over as particularly nurturing either, Kate a recovering alcoholic and John has been known to have a roving eye in the past. But if you can get past all that there's a pretty creepy story behind it all.
Decent performances all round, particularly from; Vera Farmiga as Kate, Peter Sarsgaard as John and especially from Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, she was particularly creepy. Also worth a mention were; CCH Pounder as Sister Abigail, Jimmy Bennett as Daniel and Aryana Engineer as Max.
Putting aside my incomprehension of the reasons for the Coleman's wanting to adopt, I did find the film quite disturbing. Esther particularly so, the way she manipulates situations and how she's always listening in is quite unnerving. As I said at the beginning, it is a little cliché in places and it is way too long but over all quite a sinister tale (glad I watched it in daylight!). Finally a mention for the guys who do the opening and closing credits, very cleverly done IMO, nice work. I guess over all it's recommended, but only just.
My Score: 6.1/10
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