Orphan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Orphan Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 19, 2010
I hope I didn't have any brain damage from watching this awful piece of crap that goes for every single ridiculous cliché of horror movies: from stupid scares even when there is nothing to be afraid of to the most irritating idiocy of nobody ever believing the main character.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2009
The evil child coming to a household that has it's own demons from the past to deal with is such a well known movie trope, that it's hard to imagine a film having much too add to the genre. And this one doesn't really. The tension builds slowly and you actually feel bad for the well acted child antagonist for a while. As things get more bloody, the film becomes less believable, but at least the twist adds some very fresh spice to the mix and doesn't have to rely on any supernatural element. The showdown is exciting even if a little unbelievable. Overall pretty entertaining and while never particularly scary the film has its moments of tension.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2012
Like most scary movies, their successes lie in the climatic way they are filmed. This movie has scene after scene that are very suspenseful and thrilling. Overall, I really liked it, and that says alot since I'm very picky with scary movies.
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2011
Pretty good movie, I liked it and enjoyed it. However, I hated the main character so much it really kept me from really liking it...however that might have been the point. Overall I'd say it's worth a see!
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2011
What I didn't enjoy about the film mostly was I didn't think Esther was very intimidating. The plot was really simple, we adopt a kid and now she wants to kill us. One pro to the movie was Vera Forminga's character, she was very believable and cool. What i want in a horror movie is an ending to scar tehe living SHIT out of me, and do it good. Esthers character wasn't scary for me, she just seemd like a rip off of The Omen kid Damien. There were cheesy moments, stupid plots, and ironically one child is deaf, hmmmm.... I did not enjoy Orphan.
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2009
Devastated by the loss of her third child, and recovering from a subsequent slide into alcoholism, Kate( Vera Farmiga) and her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard) still wanted another child,wanting to complete their family. They soon head out to a nearby orphanage and meet the children, one in particular stands out... It is none other then Esther. She is an orphan from Russia who lost her family in a fire. ...............She is polite, sweet, paints well, comes up with very nice stories and pick things up very quickly. She is the perfect child................ or is she???????
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2009
I gotta say that this movie was original in it's own way and that it really creep me out and disturbed me how evil a 9 year old could be, or was she..? Anyways it was a good movie and good story. Acting from Vera Farmiga was pretty good, she really brought her acting talents on this one as very caring mother protecting her kids.

The movie opens at a hospital. Kate Coleman (Vera Faramiga) and her husband, Jon (Peter Sarsgaard) walk in and Kate is clearly pregnant and clearly in labor. While Jon registers at the front desk in the lobby, Kate is wheeled towards the delivery room, but a painful contraction hits and Kate sees she is bleeding heavily. The nurse pushes the wheelchair along as if nothing is happening, but the audience can see blood trailing behind the wheelchair. In the delivery room, Kate is in a lot of pain and asks where Jon is, but nobody will tell her anything. The doctor tells her to relax, but Kate knows something is wrong with her baby. The nurse tells her that the baby is stillborn but they have to deliver it anyway, Kate is in disbelief and tells them that the baby is alive. Before she has time to think, the doctor grabs his scalpel and begins to cut into Kate's stomach, Kate wants to be put to sleep but the doctor says there isn't time. Kate yells and screams as the doctor cuts into her, Jon walks into the room with a video camera and tells Kate that she is doing perfect. After a few seconds, a baby's cry is heard and the nurse hands her a stillborn baby covered in a bloody blanket. Kate screams in terror.

Kate springs up in bed after her nightmare. Kate creeps out of bed, without waking Jon, and goes to the bathroom. For a moment, she stares at the large incision scar that goes from her bellybutton all the way to her abdomen. She pops an anti-depressant pill into her mouth and then crawls back into bed with Jon. The next morning, Kate goes to see Doctor Browning (Margo Martindale), her therapist. Kate says that perhaps the nightmares are happening because she and Jon are seeing children that same week, so they can adopt one. She also says that she passed by the liquor store on the way to the office, Doctor Browning asks if she went inside. Kate says she didn't, but she was extremely tempted. Doctor Browning says that she is able to resist that temptation, then she is most certainly able to hold her own as an adoptive mother.

Kate goes straight from Doctor Browning's office, to a school for the deaf or hearing impaired. She is greeted by her and Jon's five-year-old daughter Max (Maxine). Max holds up a picture she drew and Kate says (in sign language, naturally), that it's very beautiful. As Kate is driving home with Max in her car seat, she spots a young man with his child walking together. Kate is so distracted that a large truck almost hits her. Back at home, Kate is playing the piano while something constantly keeps banging against the house. Finally having enough, Kate goes outside and sees Max attempting to shoot a basket. Kate tells her to stop, and Max says that she is sorry, but Kate apologizes and says she shouldn't have yelled. Seconds later, Jon pulls up in the driveway with his and Kate's son, Danny (Daniel), who takes the ball from Max and shoots a hoop. Jon takes the ball from Danny and hands it to Max, and lifts her up to the hoop so she can get a basket. Kate tries to say hello to Danny, but he rushes past her to go and play.

Later in the night, Kate goes to tuck Max into bed. Max removes her hearing aid, so everything goes silent for a while. Through sign language (and subtitles for us, the audience), Kate asks Max if she wants to read a bedtime story. Max grabs a book, but Kate doesn't seem too happy to read it, but Max begs her. The story is about Max and how happy she was that she was getting a baby sister, but then Baby Jessica died and went to Heaven. Max was happy that she was in Heaven, but wishes that she could've met her. After the story, Max asks if Baby Jessica is an angel. Kate says that is a beautiful angel. After kissing Max goodnight, Kate goes to the bedroom and goes to the bathroom to take her anti-depressant. She is startled when Jon suddenly appears from behind her. Kate and Jon crawl into bed, and Kate says that even though she isn't having second thoughts about adopting, she is excited and nervous. She hasn't felt this way since she thought they were going to bring Baby Jessica home. Jon says that they shouldn't adopt for his sake, Kate says they aren't and that she really wants to take the love she had for Jessica and share it.

The next morning, Kate and Jon go to Saint Mariana's Orphanage For Girls. When Kate and Jon get out of the car, they are greeted by Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) who thanks them for coming. As they walk inside, someone is watching them from a window. When Kate gets the feeling that they're being watched, she looks up to the window but sees nothing. Kate and Jon separate, Kate is shown the girls by Sister Abigail while Jon goes to use the bathroom. Kate and Sister Abigail watch the girls play and Sister Abigail says that adopting an older child isn't an easy decision to make, but Kate says they're ready. Sister Abigail asks where Jon is and Kate says that he is using the bathroom.

Jon leaves the bathroom and goes to look for Kate, but stops when he hears the sound of a girl singing. He follows the singing and sees a young girl sitting alone in a room, painting. Jon begins to walk away, when the girl suddenly greets him. Jon steps into the room and the girl introduces herself as Ester (Isabelle Fuhrmann), and Jon begins to look through her paintings. They are extraordinary, since Ester seems so young. Jon asks Ester about the painting she is working on, and Ester says that each of her paintings tell a story and that in her current painting, a mother lion is sad because she can't find her cubs. Jon asks why the mother lion is smiling, and Ester says that it's because she is dreaming of her cubs. Jon hopes that she finds them, and Ester says she will and begins to paint in the lion cubs. Kate and Sister Abigail walk in, and Jon introduces Kate to Ester. Ester talks to Jon and Kate, and soon the couple agrees that Ester is the one that they want to adopt. They speak to Sister Abigail in her office, and she mentions that Ester is a rather mature nine-year-old and says that she is very smart and very polite as well. She also mentions that Ester is like a princess, because she wears ribbons around her neck and wrists at all time (VERY IMPORTANT). Sister Abigail says she will file the paperwork as soon as possible.

Jon and Kate take Ester home, and Max rushes out to greet them. Ester uses sign language to greet her, and Max takes an instant liking to her new sister. However, when Danny isn't fond of her. He even asks Jon, rather loudly, why Ester is dressed so differently and Jon quickly shushes him. Ester is thrilled when she sees that they have a piano, and Kate offers to teach her to play and Ester accepts instantly. Jon, Kate, and Max show Ester her bedroom and Ester says that it's perfect and she loves it. Ester is also introduced to Barbara, who is Jon's mother and Ester's new grandmother. A few days later, a celebration is being held in honor of Ester's adoption and this includes presents and cake. Almost like a birthday party. Danny doesn't seem eager to join the family's celebration, and instead plays "Guitar Hero" with his friend, Tyler. As Danny comes close to winning a game, he asks Jon to look but Jon is far too interested in Ester unwrapping his present, which just happens to be a large easel and paint supplies. Ester gives Jon a huge hug and smiles at Danny from over his shoulder. Danny tells Tyler that the game is getting boring, and he leaves. Tyler and Danny's other friend follow him out into the woods near the house. They go to Danny's tree house, and Danny lifts an old board to reveal hidden Playboy type magazines.

Kate is in the kitchen, putting away the cake and speaking with Barbara about what she plans to do. Kate says that she'll get Ester settled and then begin to teach again; Barbara reminds her that she said she wouldn't go back to that job. Kate assures her mother-in-law and says that isn't going back to Yale, but plans to give piano lessons to kids from the house. Barbara doesn't think that's a really good idea, But Kate says that she really just wants some clarity, but Barbara knows that she was told that at an AA meeting. Barbara leaves the kitchen, and Kate goes back to the dishes. Suddenly, she looks out the window and panics instantly. Ester is pulling Max along on a sled, over an icy-pond and Kate knows this is dangerous. She rushes outside and yells for Ester and Max to get off the ice, and scolds them for playing around there. The next morning, Kate is sending Max and Danny off to school and calls Ester downstairs. Ester comes downstairs, wearing a rather old-fashioned dress, which causes Max and Danny to laugh a little bit. Kate sends them to the bus and tells Ester that she should probably change before she goes to school, but Ester says that she likes to wear dresses. Kate gives in and allows Ester to wear the dress to school.

The kids arrive at school and the teacher introduces Ester to her class. A girl named Brenda teases Ester. Ester says nothing, only stares coldly and walks calmly to her seat. Later that night, Kate runs a bath for Esther. Kate goes to do laundry, but hears Ester lock the door and immediately goes to check if she is all right. Ester unlocks the door and Kate warns that they do not lock doors in the house, but Ester says she was afraid that someone would walk in and see her. Kate assures her that no one will walk in and says she won't even go downstairs until she is done. Ester says she will sing for her because she use to sing to the nuns at the orphanage so that they would know she was all right when she was taking a bath. Kate says okay and goes to finish the laundry. As Kate is putting away Ester's clothes and listening to Ester, she suddenly finds that one of Ester's drawers is stuck. After some tugging and pulling, Kate discovers an old bible with a photo of a man inside of it. Kate accidentally drops the Bible and Ester's singing goes quiet, but starts back up after a minute. Kate shoves the Bible back in its hiding spot and continues about the laundry. As she goes down the hall to Max's room, Ester opens the bathroom door and looks coldly out. Obvious, she knew what Kate was up to.

In the woods, Danny is shooting paintballs and seems to be enjoying it. Soon, a bird lands on the target and Danny shoots it on purpose. He becomes upset when the bird doesn't move and rushes to see if it's all right. It isn't dead, but it's barely alive and seems to be in pain as the wing is probably broken. Ester and Max suddenly show up and Ester asks what happened, Danny is sobbing and says he didn't think the paintball would hurt the bird. Ester picks up a large brick and asks Danny to put it out of its misery, but Danny refuses. After awhile, Ester takes the brick and beats the bird to death and then throws the brick aside. Danny runs off, horrified by Ester's actions. Ester takes Max's hand and walks away from the dead bird and the blood-covered brick. The next day at school, Ester is passing down the hall at the same time as Danny and Tyler. Tyler comments that Danny's "sister" is a total spaz, but Danny says that she isn't his sister and purposely knocks a book out of Ester's hands. As Ester kneels to pick up the book, Brenda comes along and picks it up for her. When Brenda sees that the book is a Bible, she holds it up and calls Ester a "Jesus-Freak." Ester tries to take the Bible from Brenda, but it soon falls to the floor and the pages scatter everywhere. Ester panics and rushes to pick them up, while a group gathers and begins to laugh at her. Brenda reaches to pull off the ribbon around Ester's neck, but becomes startled when Ester screams and kicks until everyone is silent. Danny is extremely weirded out. Ester is screaming as though she were possessed.

The same day, Kate is giving Ester a piano lesson and Ester castigates herself because she made eleven mistakes. Kate wants to talk about what happened at school, but Ester says that there isn't anything to talk about and gets up and leaves. The next day, Jon is with Max and Ester at the park and pushing Max on the swings. Joyce Patterson, the Coleman's next door neighbor, arrives in risqué clothing. Ester listens in on her conservation with Jon, but suddenly becomes distracted when she sees Brenda walking across the playground. After Joyce leaves, Jon becomes a bit nervous and goes to smoke a cigarette while Ester and Max begin to roam the playground. Brenda is nervous as she makes her way towards the slide, as she gets the feeling that she is being followed. As she looks down the slide, Ester comes from behind her and pushes her off. Thankfully, Brenda is alive but she is in a great deal of pain, as her foot seems to be pulled back. Ester walks away but Max has seen everything, but Ester says that if they want to stay together then she has to be quiet. At supper, Jon and Kate are asking Ester about what happened but she says that she and Brenda were playing and she accidentally fell. Kate asks Max if she saw what happened, and Max says that Brenda simply slipped. Max signs something to Danny, but he can't understand her and asks Kate what she said, but Ester tells him that Max asked for him to pass the bread and butter. Danny says that he wasn't asking her and Ester simply shrugs and begins to cut her steak, and Danny tells her to eat normally and Ester says she is eating normally. Danny asks if that is the way she eats in Transylvania, but Ester says she is from Russia and Transylvania is in Romania. Danny goes further and says if she was taught that at the school for retards. Jon orders Danny to apologize to his sister, Danny has reached his breaking point and says: "She is not my f*cking sister!" and rushes from the table.

As punishment for his outburst, Jon locks up Danny's tree house and says he will unlock it when Danny apologizes to Ester. A few days later, Sister Abigail comes for a visit after being informed of Brenda's accident. As Kate and Jon speak with Sister Abigail about the accident, Ester panics and goes to Max's room and tells her that a "mean lady" is coming to take her away and asks Max for help, and Max agrees. They sneak into Jon's office and begin to search around; Max finds some keys and hands them off to Ester. Ester uses the keys to unlock Jon's safe, where she finds a gun and points it directly at Max's forehead and asks Max if she wants to play. Max, clearly frightened, shakes her head and Ester lowers the gun. Max and Ester rush to the bridge that isn't far from the house and they know Sister Abigail's car will pass it. Ester tells Max to stand in front of Sister Abigail's car and wave her hands to get her to stop, but Max is nervous. As Sister Abigail comes driving along, Max is frozen with fear and refuses to move. Having enough, Ester pushes Max onto the road and Sister Abigail slams on the brakes and her car swerves off the road. Sister Abigail climbs out of her car and rushes to a hysterical Max. Sister Abigail asks Max if she is okay, but a shadow looms over her and Sister Abigail looks up, just as Ester beats on her head with a hammer. Sister Abigail is bleeding and unconscious, but Ester knows she will probably wake up soon. She pulls Max to her feet and tells her to stop crying. Ester forces Max to help her move Sister Abigail's body before another car comes along. They push her body down a hill, but Sister Abigail regains conscious and tries to climb back up. Ester grabs the hammer and beats Sister Abigail until she is pretty bloody and definitely dead. Ester takes a traumatized Max up to the tree house and removes her bloody gloves and dress, but Max is still crying. Ester says that if she is caught for the murder, then Max will go to jail with her and tells Max that she won't tell on her if she doesn't tell on Ester. Max agrees and Ester comforts her.

As the two are climbing down from the tree house, Danny watches from afar and Ester spots him but walks away anyway. As Danny sleeps, he is startled awake when Ester holds a pocketknife to his throat and asks him what he saw. He says that he only saw her and Max coming down from the tree house, and Ester says that if he tells anyone than she will castrate him. Danny, clearly upset, accidentally wets himself. She releases Danny and leaves the room calmly. The next day, Kate is dropping Ester and Danny off at their school, and Max at the deaf school. When Ester leaves the car, Kate asks Max and Danny if Ester has done anything to hurt them. Terrified of Ester, they both say no and Danny hops out of the car. As Danny walks up the steps, his bookbag spills but he doesn't notice. Kate leaves Max in the car and goes to hand it back, and is confused because the bookbag was new. As Kate helps Danny, Ester releases the brake and sets the car in neutral. The car rolls down a hill, and Danny quickly warns Kate since Max is still in the car. Kate chases the car and people try to stop it, but it does no good. Finally, the car hits a huge pile of snow, which causes it to stop suddenly. Kate rushes towards the car and quickly pulls Max out, who is thankfully unharmed.

That night, Kate and Jon argue about what happened. Kate swears she had set the parking brake, but Jon is still in a bit of disbelief. Jon finally gives in and he and Kate take Ester to Doctor Browning. But things take a bizarre turn when Doctor Browning says that Kate is the one at fault and not Ester. Kate is further frustrated when Jon doesn't even back her up and just remains quiet the entire session, further estranging the couple. The next morning, Jon goes to wake Ester and get her ready for an appointment at the dentist, and Ester startles him by leaping out from underneath the covers. She says that she doesn't want to go to the dentist, and Jon instantly gives into her demand as long as they reschedule and she goes to his office to draw with him (Jon is an architect). In Jon's office, Jon is working while Ester is painting. Ester says that she has waited a long time for a father like Jon, and Jon asks if she waited for a Mother like Kate. Ester pauses and expresses that she feels that Kate doesn't love her, but Jon says that it isn't true that she is just having a hard time getting close to her. He suggests that perhaps she should do something nice for her. Ester agrees. As Kate is in the kitchen, Ester comes and says that she has a surprise for her. She holds out a bundle of white roses that Kate recognizes instantly. They were the roses from Baby Jessica's dedication orchid. Kate snaps and grabs Ester by the arm, and Ester lets out a scream. Jon hears the commotion and Ester runs off sobbing, while Jon comforts Kate who is weeping openly as she crumples on the floor and looks down at the roses. While Kate is in the greenhouse, still upset about the orchid, Ester sneaks into the tool shed and grabs a screwdriver. She wraps it in a rag and places it in her mouth, and then places her arm inside of a vice. She tightens the vice until her arm breaks and then goes to bed and cries for Jon that her arm still hurts from where Kate grabbed her. Horrified by the bruises on Ester's arm, Jon takes her to the doctor.

Kate goes up to her bedroom and sees Ester laying in her and Jon's bed, and being comforted by Jon. Jon tells Kate that she broke her arm, but Kate argues that she didn't really grab Ester that hard. Jon says that it would be best for Kate to sleep downstairs. Kate contemplates drinking but decides not to after seeing the pond that almost cost Max her life. She pours the wine down the sink and sleeps downstairs. A few days later, Doctor Browning is called to the house and Kate still defends herself and says that she didn't hurt Ester at all. At that moment, Jon places two wine bottles out on the table. He tells Kate that Ester found them, which simply infuriates Kate but Jon can't help but ask if Kate is beginning to drink again. Doctor Browning is wondering the same thing as well. Kate defends herself again and says that she thought about drinking the wine but poured it down the sink, along with one of the bottles. Jon asks why she has the other bottle then, and he and Kate argue. Finally, Jon drops the bombshell: If Kate doesn't go into rehab, and then he will divorce her and take the kids with him. At the top of the stairs, Max listens in and Ester comes really close to her and whispers that she will shoot Kate if she tells. The next day, Danny sneaks to Max's room and asks her if she knows anything about Ester and Max confesses by showing Danny the pictures of Brenda's accident, Sister Abigail's death, and the car accident. Max also tells him that the hammer and Ester's bloody clothes are up in the tree house, Danny tells Max that once they get the hammer that Jon and Kate will believe them and Ester will be locked away. Unfortunately, Ester overhears the entire thing.

The next day, Danny sneaks up to his tree house and searches for the hammer and clothes but can't find them. Ester suddenly appears and throws the hammer and the clothes to the floor. She tells him that Max will be arrested to for helping her, but Danny says that Max was forced to do it. Ester pours gasoline over the evidence and lights a match, setting the evidence and the tree house on fire. She escapes and locks the tree house up with Danny still inside it, and simply watches with a smile as Danny screams for Kate. Danny crawls out a window, but it's too late and the tree house crumbles and Danny is rendered unconscious and completely broken, but miraculously alive. As Ester lifts a brick to finish him off, Max pops out of nowhere and pushes Ester before she can do anything, and Kate arrives just in time. At the hospital, the family waits for word on Danny's condition. A doctor comes and says that Danny is alive and in stable condition, Kate asks if he will remember anything and the doctor says they'll have to wait awhile before they know. Kate and Jon walk away for a while and Kate says that either Ester or Danny started the fire, and Jon says that he doesn't know which one did it. Kate is frustrated by Jon but gives in and says she'll go to rehab only if Ester goes with her. Ester asks Barbara for a dollar for the soda machine and then walks out of the waiting room, with no intention of getting a simple drink. She sneaks into Danny's room, removes the heart monitor from his finger and tries to suffocate him with a pillow. Max, getting the feeling that Ester is up to something, goes to get Kate. Before she is able to do anything, doctors rush down the hall to Danny's room. He has flatlined. Kate and Jon panic, but breathe a sigh of relief when Danny receives a pulse and is stabilized again. Kate freaks out and knows Ester did something, She screams at Ester, calls her a bitch, and then slaps her hard. Orderlies sedate Kate while Jon comforts Ester and watches sadly as his wife drifts to sleep. When Kate wakes up, she is groggy but sees Jon is with her, she asks if Danny is okay and Jon says that they are running some tests and he should be home in a few days. He also says that he is taking Ester and Max back to the house, Kate makes him promise that Ester will get nowhere near Max. Jon says nothing and leaves the room to take the girls home.

As Jon is tucking Max in, Ester comes into the room and Max becomes frightened. Ester wishes her sweet dreams and kisses her forehead, stealing her hearing aid. Jon finishes putting Max to bed and Ester walks away, Max soon falls asleep and Jon leaves the room. Jon, clearly upset by all that has happened, finds the wine and pours quite a few glasses. Suddenly, Ester comes downstairs wearing tons of makeup and a revealing dress, but Jon is so drunk that instead of getting angry, he sobs openly and tells Ester that he is scared for Danny. Ester assures him that he is a wonderful husband and father, and also tells him that she loves him. When Ester comes onto him, Jon comes back to reality and yells at her to go to her room. Ester runs to her room, sobbing hysterically as the makeup streams down her face. Meanwhile, Kate is resting in the hospital when she gets a call on her cell phone. It is Doctor Varava from the Saarna Institute in Estonia, he says he received the picture of Ester and asks where she is. Kate says that she is at the house with her husband. Doctor Varava warns Kate to call the police and get her family out of the house; Kate says that Jon won't believe her. He then tells Kate to tell Jon that Ester is not nine-years-old, nowhere close. She is a grown woman, named Leena Klammer, and is actually 33-years-old. Kate is in disbelief and Doctor Varava says that as proof, Ester wears the ribbons around her neck and wrists to cover up the scars from her straitjacket. The Saarna Insitute isn't an orphanage. It's a mental institution. Ester now looks horrible. She has wiped off all her makeup, removes her fake teeth, and the ribbons from her neck and wrists. She now looks more like a hag than an innocent child. Jon goes on the search for Ester in her room but finds she isn't there, but he does discover something. He turns on a special light and sees Ester's paintings for what they really are. Images of violence and sex. Jon is mortified but continues on the search, just as the lights go out. He goes downstairs to the electric panel and is stabbed by Ester, but is still alive. Ester stabs him repeatedly, then looks at the top of the stairs and sees that Max has seen the whole thing.

Max runs off and hides, Ester grabs Jon's gun from the safe and goes on the search for Max. Thankfully, Kate has escaped from the hospital and races to the house. The road is so slick though, that when Kate arrives she crashes through the house and alerts Ester who is upstairs searching for Max. Kate discovers Jon and breaks down, but her concern lies with Max. Ester finds Kate and shoots her in the shoulder, but Kate is okay and continues the search for Max. We see that Max is in the greenhouse and hiding behind the plants, she is relieved when she sees Kate on the roof of the greenhouse but Kate tells her to be quiet because Ester is there. Just as Ester is about to discover Max, Kate screams and Ester shoots at her. The roof is made of glass, so the bullet shatters it and Kate comes crashing down on top of Ester. Max waits anxiously before Kate regains conscious and grabs Max and runs. Kate takes Max down to the pond and comforts her, just as she sees police cars pull up to the house to arrest Ester. When the police enter the house, they search the entire household but when they come to the greenhouse, Ester is gone. At the pond, Kate is continuing to comfort Max when Ester suddenly lunges at her with a knife. Kate and Ester wrestle each other down a hill and right onto the pond, with Max watching on in terror. The gun flies out of Ester's hand as she and Kate wrestle, landing only a few yards away from Max. Ester slashes Kate's other shoulder with the knife, but Kate kicks her off before she can stab her. Max grabs the gun and holds it up, being only four and not knowing how to fire; Max aims and shoots the ice instead of Ester. The ice cracks and breaks, and both Ester and Kate fall into the freezing waters. They both fight under water before Kate kicks Ester and resurfaces. As Kate is climbing out of the water, Ester pops up and grabs onto Kate's legs, the knife hidden behind her back. Ester says, Please don't let me die, Mommy." Kate finally loses it and yells "I'm not your f*cking Mommy!" and kicks Ester hard, breaking her neck. Ester sinks back down and Kate escapes with Max.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2011
Pretty creepy, the beginning of the movie was a little overkill. Though movies where someone is bad and someone else knows but no one will believe them really make me angry, but I guess that's the point. Then you are satisfied when (if) the evil person gets what's coming to them in the end.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2009
"I don't think Mommy likes me very much."

I know the "evil child" movie has been done to death, but that doesn't mean that another one worth watching doesn't come along on occasion. I thought Orphan was going to to be one of those worthwhile flicks...until the last act.

A family with a troubled past that's only recently managed to move past a tragic miscarriage decides to welcome a new child named Esther into their home. Esther initially seems like a bright, lovely nine-year-old, but soon troubling events make the mother (Vera Farmiga) and Esther's two new siblings suspicious of the girl. And for good reason. Esther has plans for her new family, and deadly things happen when her plans are threatened.

Isabelle Fuhrman is perfect as Esther, whether she's being adorably charming, or completely sociopathic. This kind of movie succeeds or fails based on whether the characters involved draw you into the story, or make you laugh at the absurdity of the premise. Largely because of young Isabella, Orphan fell into the later category for me.

Up until the ending, that is. I'll be honest, I though the finale was outright terrible. The word "inexplicable" comes to mind. It really hurt a movie that up to that point was fairly good. I guess the silly twist was made in order to make Orphan more believable, but it achieved the exact opposite effect.

It's not really a horror movie, so don't expect lots of chills. But as a pretty dark thriller, Orphan works for its first hundred minutes. The twisty (and unnecessary) shenanigans near the end, though, hurt the movie a lot. It's been a while since my opinion of a film nosedived so quickly while I was watching it. Disappointing.
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2009
Who knew that back in 1956 when little Patty McCormack played Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed, that it would lead to an entire genre, the "evil child" film? What once was a uniquely deviant idea has now become the norm. Indeed, these days whenever a youngster starts to exhibit some antisocial tendencies, we expect them to be the devil incarnate. The trick is to bring innovation to the genre. Young actress Isabelle Fuhrman is suitably creepy as 9 year old Esther. She's good. At home, her adoptive parents also have a deaf-mute daughter named Max and her relationship with Esther is unexpectedly touching at first. Their friendly bond as supportive sisters suffering from being different, is a detail that could have been explored with more depth. Perhaps she is just misunderstood? Later, when she attends school and attracts the nasty taunts of a fellow student, the script plants the malevolent notion that we might actually want little Esther to take revenge on this nasty classmate. That's an interesting concept. Sadly, the plot ignores those ideas and deteriorates into formula. Esther illogically turns on every person who has ever supported her, making her motivation nonsensical. The story is even plagued by several "Surprise! It's not over yet" endings. By the time this overlong movie tediously concludes, we've already ceased to care. [Footnote: Star Vera Farmiga also played the mother of an evil child in the similarly themed Joshua in 2007, a superior film]
Super Reviewer
December 4, 2010
Having been raised by wolves myself, I was hoping for a taught psychological thriller, but what we ended up with is more in the horror film genre than a PT; much to the film's discredit.

This film does a fairly good job of laying out its plot in a non-linear fashion (some good writing, and well above most pot boiler fright films), and also has good, grounded charactorizations - there are no obvious holes and everyone involved has plausible motivations for their actions; another bonus not usually found in this type of film.

The acting is also above the norm, with the exception of the one name actor, Peter Saarsgard - he's fine for the first half, but then he really loses his way, deadpanning parts that call for some emotional depth, and then going over the top when it really isn't required - although I suppose a better script for his part might have helped him along the way.

The plot is basically this: a wealthy family with 2 pre teen children decide to adopt (don't worry, as crazy as this may seem, it is explained well and makes a sort of quirky sense).
Instead of adopting a baby, they go to an orphanage and adopt a quiet, sullen girl with obvious artistic talent named Ester. As the film progresses we find that there's something not quite right about her - and the film does a good job of hinting at possible religious overtones (a huh, the devil made me do it).

The film contains a truly novel big twist, and since further discussion of plot points may lead me to want to reveal aspects of it, I will instead focus on some things that really irritate me about this type of film. For starters; implausability factor. A car spins off the side of an icy road, facing backwards - no-one notices for two days, even though the film shows a car passing by shortly after the spin out. What would you do if you saw a car spun out on an odd angle on an icy road? Of course you'd ignore it and keep driving - why bother calling 911?.
There is also a scene in which Ester puts a car with a child in it into neutral, and then releases the parking brake so it begins to slide backwards down a hill. Problem? First, she is Russian and has only been in the US for less than a year, most of which was spent in an orphanage - I'll buy that she is really smart, but there is no way she could know the ins and outs of a Lexus. I have the car in question and know that you MUST have your foot on the brake to take the car out of park (something she cannot do as she is leaning into the car in order to get her hands on the gear shift nob). Then, in order to release the parking brake, you must push the brake in as if braking - not an intuitive move to RELEASE the brake. No way Ester could have known this.

Then, the mother gets some interesting news while she is in the hospital for "observation". She "escapes" and you then see her in her husbands car (ok, this can make sense as they were all called to the hospital earlier for another reason, and came in different cars - however, how did she end up with her husbands keys? Makes you wonder).

There is also a foolish scene where the husband supposedly gets drunk on a bottle of wine - umm that's 12% alchohol at best - and the effect used to portray his drunkenness - all fuzzy and distorted double images - oh please!

Finally, and this is where the film starts to slip into the conventional potboiler realm - there are countless scenes of what is happening in the house intersperced with Mom racing down icy snow covered roads in an effort to thwart something that she only suspects. Ok, earlier, on a less curvy, icy road, we witness a spin out - so here's mom, like a bat out of hell, cornering like some formula one racer. Implausable, and what is irritating, is that there's no need for it. It doesn't rachet up the tension as the director intended; it only made me role my eyes and come to the realisation that the film was slipping into trashy territory.

The final scenes did nothing to repeal my suspicions, only further re-inforce them. Predicatable and a real disappointment considering what the first half of the film brought to the table.

In conclusion, here we have a film that has a truly original twist, and yet instead of making something wonderful, with real depth, the filmmakers once again took the easy way, falling into convention and stupidity.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2010
Once in a while, Horror fans will be lucky enough to get something totally new and terrifying. Orphan looked promising and had asense of truly horrifying the audience, I needed to see the film, and I had high hopes for the film. The film certainly delivered something horrifying and new. I loved the film.The Horror genre has had the opportunity to have some psycho kids portrayed in some great films, Regan in The Exorcist and Damien in The Omen. Those two being the most legendary children in the genre. In Orphan there is another dispicably evil kid. Her Name is Esther and she is the latest child in a long line of kid Horror Icons. Shes no Regan, but she is cruel and hateful. Esther is brilliantly played by Isabelle Fuhrman. Fuhrman gives a terrifying performance, and the audience ends up despising Esther. Orphan is a film that will most likely surprise Horror fans as it is not a remake and is by no means a bad horror film. The film is definitely a return to form to true horror, something that we need in a genre plagued by crap remakes. Orphan is one of the best horror films of 2009 and the cast staring opposite Isabelle Fuhrman is brilliant. The film will definitely give you a few tense jolts of good scares, by no means cheap jump scares that we see constantly in recent Horror films, but effective, spine tingling scares that will make you feel uneasy. The story is refreshing, instead of another boring yawn inducing remake, we get an original film such as Orphan.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2009
An easy watching Horror, which is not a strictly an original setup, but better acted than most of this genre. Capturing the art of manipulation, Isabelle Fuhrman pulls off the "evil" child in a kind of "Omen" and "Godsend" type fashion.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2009
One of the best horror/suspense films I have seen in a long time. I would have rated it five stars if it wasn't for the abrupt ending, (which is strange considering it was 2 hours long, still felt it could have been a little longer at the end). Isabelle Fuhman is excellent as creepy little Esther, as are the rest of the cast - I really found the whole family believable and sympathetic. Also, it had a twist I never saw coming........SPOILER............................................ They did the makeup on the little girl so well, I really was questioning if it was the same person once the teeth came out etc.
Well worth a look. This had me on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2010
A great thriller severly underrated. Vera Farmiga gives an amazing portrayal with Peter Sarsgaard trailing behind with his own varied performance.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2009
I went into it expecting it to be another rehash of the 'creepy child' horror films. While this is mostly the case, it is very skillfully done, and the ending brings a refreshing twist. Isabelle Fuhman's performance is breathtaking.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2009
It is what it is: a violent, dark psychological thriller that plays upon the inherit subliminal fears of adoption and parenting. "Is there something really, really wrong with this child?"

*See also The Bad Seed, The Good Son, The Omen, etc., etc., etc...
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