Kids may say and do the damnedest things, but little orphan Esther is hell to be around. In Orphan, a movie that will do for adoption services what Jaws did for the summer beach trade, young Isabelle Fuhrman chills the scenery.
Dressed in Old World frilly finery, speaking with a European accent that would make Bela Lugosi blush, and harboring a dark secret that makes her a dicey addition to the Coleman family, Esther's talent with a claw hammer and penchant for surreptitious mayhem is a solid B-movie thrill ride not seen in a while. The twist-ending will also make anyone currently seeking adoption double-check that paperwork again and again.
Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) has a rough time of it after her third child is stillborn. Hitting the bottle she loses her teaching job, and her drinking almost costs the life of her second child, Max (Aryana Engineer), who is deaf but knows what people say with the help of her hearing aid and by reading lips. This puts a strain on Kate's relationship with husband John (Peter Sarsgaard). I should note that many horror movies begin with a severely strained relationship that leads to much more strain (usually from bloodletting and death, of course), which in this case is precipitated by the adoption of sweetly sinister little Esther from St. Mariana Orphanage.
We immediately see Esther is different because she prefers to paint alone upstairs when every other kid is playing downstairs. She likes to sing The Glory of Love when she is painting and also when she is on the toilet. John hears her singing and they bond over their mutual artistic talents. Max, who likes to have mom sign to her a story about the sister who went to heaven, takes to Esther immediately, but her brother Daniel (Jimmy Bennett III) thinks Esther is weird, as does his friends at school. At first he feels threatened by her getting his parents' attention; after the incident where a razor blade is closely poised near his most vital areas, he has a lot more to feel threatened by.
When bad things begin to happen to those around Esther, like the girl at school, who teases her, breaking an ankle, or like Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder; Mrs. Frederic in Warehouse 13), who signs-off on the adoption papers--before she realizes how Esther is always around when bad things happen--having a car accident, Kate's suspicions grow. John, of course, along with Kate's psychotherapist, thinks his wife is having a relapse. Both insist she commit herself for treatment.
Seasoned horror fans will recognize this scenario: the only person to see the threat is the only person no one trusts or listens to. But director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax) provides enough suspense to make this familiar situation work to the Orphan's advantage. We feel the terror felt by Daniel and Max; they know how awful Esther can really be, but they are helpless against her as she keeps trying to get rid of them. Permanently. I normally do not want to see children in R-rated movies, but their fear and potential to be harmed by Esther is essential to the momentum of the story. Adding to this tension are flashes of Esther losing her outward calm in fits of rage when no one is around, and how Collet-Serra shows her prowling to spy on her adopted parents and siblings. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, Esther acts innocently until she needs to act violently. What Collet-Serra should have left out are the overused, falsely queued--music and camera--scares, and person-popping-up-behind-you seen in mirror. Isabelle Fuhrman's Esther provides all the scares he needs.
Towards the climax, the revelation of Esther's true intent, previously hidden on the walls of her bedroom, brings the evil vividly home to John just before the lights go out. While this movie may cause adoption rates to dip a bit, it will certainly take the summer heat off you with a chill or two.
I search the paint of esther, do you know where I can found it ?
Posted by: email@example.com | January 19, 2010 at 02:45 PM