Plot: Picking up the pieces after their baby’s tragic death, the Colemans — Kate and John — adopt 9-year-old Esther from an orphanage, but it doesn’t take long for Kate to see through Esther’s angelic façade. When John brushes aside Kate’s paranoid suspicions, Esther wreaks havoc on the world around her in this chilling tale.
My Review: I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this movie. I remember seeing commercials for it back when it came to theaters and thinking “oh goodie another movie about a spooky little kid”. I had no intentions of seeing it. Then adoption agencies were in an uproar about the movie, and how bad it would be for children that needed adoption. So it made people MORE interested in the movie. Then a few people had posted about it on the Camp Blood Forum and said it was actually good. So, when it came on one of the movie channels I decided what the heck and recorded it in HD.
As a woman who’s been trying to have a baby for almost a year with no success, and knowing I don’t have the funds to adopt and probably never will, I was immediately taken by surprise at the beginning of the film. It was unexpected, gory, disturbing and really very sad. Immediately my emotions took over and I was in tears. As we find out a little later Kate had given birth by C-section to a stillborn baby. We don’t know much else about and we don’t find out too much more about it. I felt horrible for her, obviously with the title of “Orphan” and the subject matter of adoption, she wasn’t going to be able to have children of her own. But in the next scene we do find out that she is already a mother to two other children. Not that it makes the loss of her unborn baby any less painful, but all I could think of was at least she already had two.
I don’t care too much for religious movies – The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, etc. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that the little girl came from an orphanage that was run by nuns, and that the little girl carried a “bible” around with her. I figured this movie was going to go the possession route, which I just didn’t really care for. So I was looking towards a predictable boring ending. Obviously there was something going on with those ribbons around her neck and wrists which probably had to do with why she wanted the bathroom door locked during bath time. I really only had two or three guesses about what the deal with the ribbons were. My final guess was correct, but not for the reasons I thought.
With that being said, in the beginning I fully expected the adopted child (Ester) to end up being the good child and one of the other children to be responsible for whatever the parents were going to think Ester had done. Only 45 minutes into it, that was clearly not the case. We clearly see Ester killing an animal, being a bully to another child at school, and soon after we even see her commit murder. Once the mother, Kate suspects that Ester had something to do with the murder, she continues to allow Ester to remain in the house with her other children. I think if I were Kate I would have first and foremost questioned my own children about it – which she does a couple scenes later, but it should have been one of the first things that had happened after the nun came.
Its not long before Kate decides she wants Ester out of the picture, and Ester causes more trouble for Kate. Even Kate’s own shrink thinks there are problems with Kate, not Ester.
As I state below in the sexual content area, the movie takes a turn that really disturbed me. It is shortly after this scene that we get the full truth behind Ester and it was a twist I never saw coming. I’m glad they didn’t go the different routes I thought. And the movie was really truly different then other films I had seen.
Gore/FX: There isn’t a whole lot of gore, but what we do get may have been CGI. I couldn’t tell because the scenes were pretty quick. But that was okay, if you couldn’t tell its probably for the better.
Sexual Content: There is a sex scene in the kitchen with the parents but no nudity in the film. The movie takes a disturbing but semi predictable turn when Ester gets Kate out of the house. Its really disturbing that the script even called for a child to act this way towards an adult. I don’t know how the parents of the actress playing Ester allowed her to play this role. I was truly disturbed. People on the IMDB message boards are even attempting to say that how it was filmed and edited were different so as not to put her in a bad position. But they are only guessing. Obviously she read the script, she knows what is supposed to happen. In the end the scene was weird, uncomfortable, and disturbing. Therefore I supposed it accomplished what it set out to do.
Acting: One of those movies where you know you’ve seen most of the cast in other roles. I couldn’t figure out at the time where I knew them from. They were all really good though. Especially Isabelle Fuhrman who played Ester.
Overall: I liked the movie, it was interesting, and for once I never saw that twist coming. So it did a good job. On the other hand, there are only so many bad/evil child movies one can take and because of that, and the “same old same old” feel its not a favorite of mine. It didn’t really have much of a HORROR feel to it because I don’t find mean little children horrifying. I MAY watch it again years down the road. But nothing I’m dying to see again.
View The Trailer