Orphan: review for the film/movie

September 28, 2009

Alternate titles

France: Esther

Canada: L’orpheline

Germany: Orphan – Das Waisenkind

The review

Alright, here’s one that surprises you. Watching the promos made me think I was going to watch a haunted film, but this one’s a real suspense flick. The highlight of the film is 12 year old Isabelle Fuhrman who plays the role of Esther, a nine year old in an adoption facility. Vera Farmiga, and Peter Sarsgaard play the role of Kate and John Coleman, a couple dealing with a few issues of their own. Kate has recently suffered the miscarriage of her unborn girl child Jessica, and this is a pressing sentimental burden she faces. So much so, that the opening scene of the film has you screaming in shock because of the warped presentation of a bloody baby that Kate delivers, of course it’s only a bad dream. Furthermore we uncover Kate visits a psychologist regularly and writes a secret diary as she’s dealing with her past drinking habit, which as the film unfolds we come to realize is a major cause of tension between the couple as it almost killed her children, Max (Aryana Engineer), a deaf child who uses sign language to communicate, and Daniel (Jimmy Bennett), an older boy.

Kate was previously a teacher at Yale and is taunted at home by her mother in law for her reckless behavior in the past. The couple feels a need to adopt and Kate reasons with this would help her give all the love she has felt for Jessica t someone who needs it. The couple adopts a 9 year old girl called Esther with a Russian lineage, and are told that she came there after her adoptive parents’ home burnt down and killed everyone except the little girl. She initially draws John’s attention with her painting and singing alone in a room of the orphanage, and later shares with Kate and John that she sees o point in partying and comes across a peculiar and mature child at the same time. Among other idiosyncrasies is her insistence on wearing old fashioned dresses with sock as and coats and a ribbon around her hand, and neck.

Esther’s introduction to the family invokes mixed reactions with Daniel hating her immediately because of the family’s shift of attention to her. Little Max is fond of her sister when she meets her. There are plenty of scenes in the film where you feel there’s someone watching closely. Kate does come across a Russian bible look book and is almost contemplating whether she should look in probably just to get to know her adopted daughter but chooses against it and quickly puts back the picture of a man that falls out of it. Well one can only say she should have opened it. She shows Ether the garden where she has strewn Jessica’s ashes and a white rose shrub grows.

At school, a little girl Brenda in Esther’s class picks on her and soon he see the first glimpse of Esther’s meanness as she pushes the little girl off a Castle maze slide , causing her to break her ankle, and get 6 stitches. Max watches the episode, and Esther smiles back at her. Over dinner at home, she agrees at being present at the scene of accident but claims it was only an accident, and little Max covers for her as she may be too little to understand, or simply because she loves her sister.

When Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) calls Kate and gets to know about the incident at the park, the Sister expresses concern, and visits the Coleman home. She narrates incidents from Esther pasts regarding her presence at multiple scenes of accident including a child killing himself, and a house being burnt down because of arson. She isn’t so sure about Esther’s past and promises to get back to the family with more information. Esther overhear everything and misguides little Max whom she has already befriended into believing that the guest has come to take Esther away. They reach a little over bridge and just when Sister Abigail’s car draws up, Esther pushes Max onto the road. Sister Abigail brakes on time, and skids the car off the road because of the snow ad rushes to the little child crying on the road. By the time she realizes who the child is, Ether strikes her with a hammer from behind. She makes Max feel guilty by scaring her about her involvement and the police and gets her to help rag the nun’s body off the road and then bludgeons her t death in the little girl’s presence, and swears her into secrecy.

In the meantime Danny has been punished by John who has locked his tree house because he abused Esther and refuses to apologize. He’s out walking and sees little Max and Esther climb out of his tree house. Esther has spotted Danny and threatens him with a knife at his neck at night about cutting off his willy if he mentions anything at all to anybody. In the meantime the orphanage calls Kate because sister Abigail hasn’t reached a police search uncovers her gruesome murder. When Kate goes to drop the kids at school, and has to rush out of the car just to notify Danny that he’s dropping things from his bag, Esther coolly takes the SUV off the handbrake causing the vehicle to speed on without a driver and little Max strapped in .

Luckily no oncoming vehicles bang on and because of the snow a major accident is averted. Consequently the episode is blamed on Kate as negligence an anything she says isn’t enough because of her past drinking problem. Kate is concerned by now but John doesn’t see the relation. She is very troubled as the orphanage actually has no past records of Esther. On the other hand, John, and the psychologist find faults with Kate and believe she’s blaming things on little Esther. Esther, as the audience sees, has a violent streak and screams and hits out to express anger.

Esther goes to the extent of making a bouquet for Kate with the white roses planted in Jessica’s memory but John doesn’t see her despair and pain. Kate gets 2 bottles of wine in her desperation but empties a bottle, and keeps the other away. Kate simply pushes Esther, who later goes on to break her hand by herself and blames that onto Kate as well. She even lets Kate know that she’s been manipulating her household based on all th information gained from kates secret diary. Kate manages to find Esthers bible and upon opening it sees many trn photographs from where Esther has retained random pictures of middleaged males. At the end of the bible she finds the words Saarne institute. She calls to talk about missing children and finds it to be an asylum, and sends in Esthers picture.

Danny manages to talk to Max at night and through her drawings and conversation realizes that Esther is behind everything that has happened so far. He goes on to realize that something’s in the tree house and goes to retrieve it but finds Esther there as she has already overheard their conversation. She burns the evidence and leaves him to die. Danny somehow climbs out of a window but falls from a great height. He’s unconscious and Esther is about the smash his head with a stone but baby Max pushes with all her might just in time for Kate to come and see her unconscious son. He’s rushed to hospital, and is serious. As things go from bad to worse, Kate is still trying to reason with John about Esther’s parents and Esther asks her grandmother for a dollar for the soda machine and gets to Danny’s room to kill him.

Little Max again smells something fishy and gets to the soda machine to find it empty and rushes to her mother and tugs at her. In the meantime an emergency alarm is rung from Danny’s room as he has gone into cardiac arrest and doctors rush to revive him. By now Kate is mad and strikes out at Esther and has to be anesthetized by the medical staff in order to restrain her and in the bargain misses an incoming call. John leaves her at the hospital, and heads home with the girls. She again gets a call, and Dr. Värava (Karel Roden) tells her that Esther isn’t a child at all but a 33 year old mental patient who ran away and has been posing a child to gain entry into many households and try to seduce the men and kill them and that her violent streak meant that she was put in a straight jacket at the institution because of which she has scars around her neck, and wrist.

Kate rushes towards home and while driving calls 911. In the meantime Esther dresses up (in a rather emo sort of way) an expresses her love for John. She comes to wish little Max goodnight and steals her hearing aids. In the meantime John starts drinking, and Ether serves him food and is dressed in a rather adult fashion. John who’s quite drunk at the time realizes something’s wrong and scolds Esther for dressing in such a bizarre fashion, and her makeup. He then tries to reason with her about how confused she is. She gets mad yet again, and is seen with a big kitchen knife and the power supply to the house is cut off. John advances to see whats going on but Esther stabs him from the back and then many times over on his chest and kills him.

Little Max who has come out of her room as she sees shadows passing by her door and know her aids are missing is witness to the murder. She runs and hides, and while Esther’s looking or her, Kate rushes home to find John murdered,. She starts searching for Max, and Esther who realizes she’s back fires a short at her arm. She hides, and little Max while running gets to the garden and knocks of a pot. Esther rushes down, while Kate sees Max threw the greenhouse roof and knocks to gain her attention and signals for her to hide. Esther finds Max and starts shooting at her, and keeps missing, and even shoots up at Kate. Finally the roof gives way and Kate falls on Ether. Presuming she’s dead, she lifts Max and rushes out of the house while to police cars reach home. As she’s walking away from the house, Esther comes charging again, and strikes at Kate. In the ensuing fight, little Max in her nervousness and urge to do something shoots the revolver and an instant crack in the frozen pond takes both Kate, and Esther down.

They fight relentlessly below the ice, and Kate, somehow tries to climb back on top with Esther asking her in a very psychotic manner and referring her to as mommy yet again to save her. This time Kate kicks real hard and breaks Esther’s neck. Esther is last seen going downward in the frozen water, just a lifeless limp body. Kate climbs out, lifts Max, and the police reach to escort them.

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