Orphan (2009) Movie Review
Written By: LFG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran
Writers: David Leslie Johnson
Date Released: July 24, 2009
Vera Farmiga as Kate Coleman
Peter Sarsgaard as John Coleman
Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther
C. C. H. Pounder as Sister Abigail
Jimmy Bennett as Daniel “Danny” Coleman
Margo Martindale as Dr. Browning
Karel Roden as Dr. Värava
Aryana Engineer as Maxine “Max” Coleman
Rosemary Dunsmore as Barbara Coleman
Genelle Williams as Sister Judith
Rating = 3.5 /5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The film tells the story of the Coleman couple, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard), who decided to adopt a child as a way of coping the loss of their stillborn baby, Jessica. After visiting an orphanage run by nuns, they decided to adopt a little Russian girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). The couple were drawn to her, especially John, after he shares a moment with Esther while she was painting pictures, away from the ruckus of the other kids in the orphanage. Upon bringing Esther into their home, the couple’s deaf younger child, Max (Aryana Engineer), immediately accepts her as part of their family, while the older son Danny (Jimmy Bennet) did not as he finds Esther odd. Kate thinks her family is finally complete, until Esther started displaying odd behavior at home and in school. It turns out Esther is actually an adult woman from Estonia, posing as a little girl under the guise of her hormonal disorder, which makes her look like a little girl. Kate then finds out that Esther has already committed numerous murders in the past. After a series of deaths and “accidents,” Kate decides to put a stop to Esther once and for all.
There is some gore to the film but nothing over the top. There is more violence and disturbing behavior than there is gore. The scene that stood out the most was when Esther killed his adoptive father John by stabbing him repeatedly in the chest while she sat on top of him.
The Grave Review
Orphan (2009) has all the elements that would make it an instant horror classic. The entire film is well-paced and there is not one single boring scene. The story depicts a family trying to move past a tragedy and it is evident in the entire atmosphere of the film; even in some happy scenes, you can feel the couple’s desperation to make their family “complete.”
The director was able to effectively buildup Esther’s character from start to finish and not one other character outshines her. Isabelle Furhmann’s portrayal of Esther is truly flawless, making her the best choice for this role. Esther is a fascinating character despite being a complete psychopath. Another character to watch out for is Max, the deaf little girl. She did not have any speaking lines but being an accomplice to Esther’s crimes (even though she was just forced to be one) made her and the story line much more interesting.
The final fight scene between Kate and Esther in the snow was well played out. When Esther mockingly tells Kate that she does not want to die and proceeds to call her “mommy” was the last straw for Kate. In the end, she literally kicks Esther out of her life and breaks her neck—ending her life.
Some viewers, especially those who are planning to adopt sometime in the future, might find this difficult to watch. Indeed, this is every adoptive parents’ worst nightmare. Inviting a complete stranger to your home as a member of your family is already daunting itself, how much more if this person turns out to be a murderer? Orphan (2009) is one of those films you can watch over and over again, yet it leaves a chilling impression every time you do so.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Orphan (2009) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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