Hey folks, Valkor here. And I welcome you to TOV's "30 in 30", where I'll review 30 unique film and maybe some not so unique, all in 30 days. What's cool for most of the flicks, is that I know nothing about em. So this should be a real treat not just for you guys, but for me as well. Good or bad, this is gonna be a fun month. It all starts today July the 4th and ends on Aug the 3rd. Can I make it through? We'll know soon enough!
Is it possible for a person to love and hate a film all at the same time? I think with number 20, I just found the film that brings both feelings together and in the end… Well read on.
The story behind Orphan revolves around the Coleman's - John (Peter Saarsgard, who I am looking forward to in the Green Lantern Film) and Kate (Vera Farmiga), who've recently lost their third child and are now looking to adopt. At the orphanage they meet Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a child from Estonia who speaks very maturely, enjoys painting, and instantly wins the hearts of the Colemans, who eventually adopt the young girl. Esther is instantly accepted by the Coleman's youngest daughter who's deaf, Max (Aryana Engineer) but their oldest son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) thinks' she's just plain weird - especially by how she dresses. And things only get worse with the first incident being the accidental "slip and fall" of one of Esther's classmates, who also broke her ankle. Of course Esther didn't do it and daddy Coleman takes her side. Kate soon starts to suspect that maybe Esther isn't as sweet as others may think her to be. In fact she thinks she's being manipulative and may be mentally disturbed. Her feelings are reinforced when Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) pays a visit and reveals a history of disturbing events that took place when Esther was around. And it only goes downhill from there as Sister Abigail is killed by Esther and Daniel is nearly burned alive in his treehouse; he escapes, but takes a nasty fall. Eventually it all comes down to a confrontation between Esther and Kate. And it's go time!
The film's tagline is: There's something wrong with Esther. *Spoiler Alert*
Esther is really an adult female, with a rare dwarfism like disease that causes her to forever have a child-like appearance. So that sweet little nine-year old girl is actually a 33 year old bitch!
Isabelle Fuhrman is probably one of the best child actresses I've seen thus far. The look they gave her is disturbing from the moment you meet her until the very end. It's just downright creepy! Believe it or not Isabelle is currently only 13! Fuck I thought they had a waif model play Esther, but to have a child that is an adult acting as a child? That's some damn good acting! The tone of the film is also creepy and the events that take place, while somewhat cliché and predictable, help elevate the film above being just mediocre to just plain creepy and a bit scary in some instances.
First is Esther's secret. When I was first told about this film and just how good it actually is, I thought ok don't spoil it for me, I gotta check this shit out! And now that I've seen it, I'm like "Wait! What's the big surprise again?" The biggest giveaway that Esther is hiding her age is when she doesn't wanna visit the dentist. But even before that you know there's something up with her (and again the film's tagline tells you so). So offering up that particular tagline, has you guessing but then watching the film you can piece it together. Second, The film painfully follows a "horror by numbers" book, with tons of foreshadowing; such is the case of Kate and the sliding mirrors. First few times there's no one there, but YOU KNOW there's gonna be a scene meant to scare you with the sliding mirror, so you see it coming a mile away! Finally the ending goes on for too long!! Will Esther live or die? Fuck! The movie is two hours long!! Just pick one and go with it!!
Orphan is a film that I enjoyed yet hated at the same time, I enjoyed Isabelle Fuhrman, I enjoy the creepy feel of the film, but I hated its predictability. It doesn't fully draw you out of the film, but it'll make you groan with displeasure more so than screaming with fear. So out of TOV 5 stars, I'm gonna give Orphan 3 stars. And Isabelle Fuhrman, if you read this: You're. Fucking. Awesome!!!