The Orphanage Reviews
the film is effectively spooky given that it deals with spirits of children and the woman who grew up in it returns to find out what happened to her son
there's some good emotion at the end to go with it all
nothing too overblown here thankfully
Belén Rueda is totally spectacular as the protagonist. She has such relatable moments in The Orphanage and her reactions are authentic. This is how a mother would behave in these situations. I also thought Fernando Cayo was great as her husband. You can see the journey he goes on as he wants so desperately to believe his wife and support her, but he reaches his limits. The kids in the movie are adorable and also good actors, which is a tough combination to find.
The segment of the film that I liked the least was the interaction with the supernatural investigators. There's this element to that sequence that feels out of touch with the tone of everything that came before. Also it seems to commit this film more firmly to the idea of ghosts being real, when I liked the ambiguity. The ending of the film is one of the most interesting things I've ever seen because it almost made me question how I should feel. While The Orphanage isn't my favorite style of film, it was fascinating and I'd like to see it again.
One thing is for certain, J.A. Bayona is phenomenal director. I've heard great things about his upcoming 'A Monster Calls', 'The Impossible' is one of the most heart-wrenching films of all time, and The Orphanage kicked off his directing with a bang. But there's one thing all of those films have in common, they deal with a mother's relationship to her son. I've obviously never met Bayona, but he had to have a strong connection to his mother. And among other things, that was the most satisfying element to The Orphanage. Guillermo del Toro produced this, and as much as I love a lot of his films, sometimes his films are more about spectacle than they are about real human emotion. Luckily, Bayona gave plenty of that to The Orphanage.
Movies about disappearances or deaths of children are always very difficult to watch. Especially the films that take a horror approach, like The Orphanage. Kids are always creepy in horror-thrillers, there's just no two ways about it. But as long as Belén Rueda keeps her performance grounded, this movie stays afloat.
This movie certainly delves into some things that we have seen in horror films before, mostly having to do with supernatural ideas or dream-like people returning from the dead, but I never found myself all that invested in those scenes. I'm far more interested in seeing how a mother reacts to her child go missing. The film doesn't necessarily have as many layers as other horror-thrillers, but as a first time director, I couldn't have asked for more from Bayona. Hopefully 'A Monster Calls' and The Jurassic World sequel continue the string of great work from him.
+Stays relatively grounded
-...Could have had a little bit more depth