Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection, but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
Sometimes you watch a movie with a twist so good, you can’t get over it. For me, that movie was Orphan.
What it’s about:
John (Peter Sarsgaard), and his wife Kate (Vera Farmiga) who recently lost their baby, adopt a 9-year-old girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) who is not nearly as innocent as she appears.
Orphan is one of my favorite thrillers. With this review, I’m going to breakdown a few of the things I like about it.
Orphan, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra really can’t be called a horror film. It’s definitely more on the psychological spectrum. Of course there are some bloody moments but that’s not the main thing. The storyline of two parents adopting a kid seems innocent enough so the entire time I watched Orphan, I found myself thinking, what is wrong with this kid? Why is she doing these terrible things? I’ve seen films about bad kids like The Good Son, but I had an idea of what was going on with the kid Henry. With Orphan, I had no idea.
The twist in the film is what really threw me for a loop. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of movies that had creative twists but this one had me super shocked. The big twist is that Esther is actually not a child.
She is a 33 year old woman named Leena Klammer who has a rare disorder called hypopituitarism. Not only that, she escaped from the Sarne Institute which is a mental institution in Estonia. I have only ever seen one of Jaume Collet-Serra’s films; House of Wax and that film was really creepy so I should not have been surprised that Orphan would have an unexpected twist.
Isabelle Fuhrman was only 12 years old when she played the role of Esther. For her to be such a young actor, she did a fantastic job. She essentially had to portray two different ages. Like I mentioned above, Esther is not actually a nine year old girl, she’s a grown woman.
Isabelle had to play a 33 year old woman pretending to be a nine year old girl and then once it is revealed that she is actually a 33 year old, she changes completely. Of course there is the makeup and all that to make her look older, but, she had to carry herself like a grown woman and that’s not easy for a kid to have to pull off. Isabelle was great.
The Little Things
Kate and John have a daughter named Max (Aryana Engineer) and she is hearing-impaired. The actress who played her really is in fact hearing-impaired. She was so amazing in Orphan and I loved the interactions between her and everyone around her. I thought it was pretty amazing that the whole cast was signing to communicate with her.
What I loved even more was how Jaume Collet-Serra put us into her world. When she would remove her hearing aids at night, the sound was gone. It gave the audience an insight into what she was experiencing without the hearing aids in.
- Fun Fact: Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Orphan’s producers.
- That opening scene with Kates nightmare still gets me. It’s horrifying and sad.
- Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) really needed to check his attitude.
- I think Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) new from the get-go that something was wrong with Esther.
- Come on, guys, sex in the kitchen in a house full of kids? really? Ya’ll should have known better.
- John and Dr. Browning (Margo Martindale) got on my damn nerves. They were both useless. Constantly believing Esther was this sweet innocent girl and thinking Kate was the problem.
- Nobody heard Esther’s tantrum in that bathroom?
- The kids really should have told Kate the truth about Esther. It would have saved them a lot of drama.
- Max saving Daniels life. That’s a great little sister.
- What kind of grandmother lets her young grandchildren wander off to a vending machine alone?
- I have never in my life seen a hospital where staff just inject someone who is visiting, with a sedative to calm them down when they don’t even have an order or know their medical history. That would never happen.
- When the hell did Esther have the time to paint that big ass freaky sexual mural all over her wall without anyone noticing? Where did she get the phosphorescent paint from? I need answers.
- I legit had ZERO sympathy for John when Esther killed him. Like, I know that’s mean but, Kate warned him that something was wrong with her and he didn’t listen.
What do you think about this movie? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!
Orphan is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.