When I thought up the ‘Halloweenie’ idea for this blog over October, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have so far. Really, I was just looking for an excuse to watch It Follows and The Babadook without having to try and write a proper review for them, but having knocked those two out of the park early on, I found myself on Sunday night actively looking for another good Horror movie to watch. That’s how I came across Orphan (2009). I came across a list of ‘The 25 Best Horror Films of the 21st Century so far’ and didn’t get any further than the first one on the list.
“An original chiller co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio”
“...it ramps up to a rare (and essentially unguessable) twist”
Oh, I’m sold.
The orphan in question is a young girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), who is adopted by troubled parents Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) who already have 2 children younger than Esther, one of which is deaf. I’m still not sure why, or how that’s important to the plot, but okay. At least it made me keep my eyes on the screen to read the subtitles whenever she was signing.
It’s quite a long movie, but it never really dragged. The characters are all well introduced, we learn about the struggles Kate and John have had, Kate’s drinking problem, John’s infidelity, their miscarriage. I question whether it’s the right time for them to adopt, but then so did they, so I can accept that. Esther is an instantly likeable character, she’s quiet and doesn’t like like to play with the other children at the home, but she enjoys music and art, and she’s very smart. She’s a little odd, with her dress sense, ribbons and the way she talks, and that only gets worse as the movie goes on.
Esther quickly takes a liking to her new younger sister and her new father, but doesn’t like Kate much at all. She manipulates the whole family in such a way it’s frustrating to watch at times. I haven’t seen many of Peter Sarsgaard’s movies but I always find his character unlikeable, and I can’t explain why. I couldn’t stand him in this either. Would you really trust the word of your newly adopted and down right weird daughter over your wife?
I’ll keep this post spoiler free for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet, but I can’t argue with the second point that sold the movie to me in the first place. I did NOT see that plot twist coming. Personally, I try not to work it out anyway, because I love the thrill of the twist when it comes, but I couldn’t help but laugh at this one. I mean, really?!
I feel so conflicted. The movie felt well written (almost), well made, well acted, but so much made so little sense. It felt like so many details were thrown in to throw the audience off the scent, but really, the clues were there from the very beginning. I’m going to have to mull over this one for a while I think!