Have you seen this film?
I came across this movie in one of my friend’s list of favorite films. Before watching Orphan, I saw the hunger games where Isabelle Fuhrman played a side character named Clove. When she impressed us with her throwing skills, she is no more than few minutes in the film. I was told that actress Isabelle Fuhrman played the antagonist in this film and she nailed it. Hell yes, she did!
Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) are trying to rekindle their marriage after Kate suffered a miscarriage and due to John’s alleged infidelity. They adopt a child named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) because they want to share their love and wealth and give it to someone who truly wants it. Esther is seemingly a lovely and friendly girl until she comes across little boys and girls who try to bully her. But, little did the family know that Esther is not quite the girl they expected. She is dangerous and there is something seriously wrong with her.
I was against the whole idea of this film for featuring a child who as a serial killer but of course, she is not normal. The buildup and the characters are amazing and Esther as a character is outlined so well that we will believe the final twist. It is a mindblowing twist, no arguments there. Not revealing anything here, the twist cannot be accepted completely if you are a doctor or if you focus more on the medical angle. You might end up challenging several details like Esther’s alleged libido and her ability to produce the same. If you don’t focus too much on that regard then twist will give you chills as the process of rewatching the film will seem like a different experience altogether. And that is the beauty of a film with a good twist, where all the buildup and angles to storytelling rely on that twist. Which is why you should stay away from everything and anything that might reveal it, including youtube comment section.
The film features a lot of violence and child abuse. Esther tortures Kate’s children physically and mentally. She almost succeeds in killing one of them. As per the earlier draft, a lot of graphic deaths were there but then it is ruled out. Personally, I would have rated this film higher but it ended up only glorifying violence against children by giving an impression about Orphans and adopted kids. If the film unintentionally gives out a message against adopting then it is simply ‘ludicrous, which begs the question, was it necessary to name the film as “orphan”? Plus, the story stuck to the old school idea of vilifying people with mental health problems by making them all violent and malevolent. So dangerous that killing them is the only solution. Esther is shown as a psychopath who enjoys killing and torturing but it is due what she went through in the past, which is never revealed in the film.
The positive aspects of the film, apart from the mindblowing twist, is the performances and technical aspects. The cinematography is wonderful which captured the emotions as well the beautiful environment surrounding Kate’s home. Production design and set decoration are done well. John Ottman’s background music dissolves in the scene with less noisy scores. The editing and makeup are plausible. Isabelle Fuhrman stole the show as Esther. She deserves to be in more films as her skills are exemplary and she nailed it with her expressions, accent, and body language. She is too good for a 12-year-old and that smartness is there in her interviews as well. I just hope she will be there in better and more prominent films. Vera Farmiga is great as always. She deserves the title as the scream queen with her frightened performance and toughness under pressure. The final confrontation is between two women where we know that the other person is dangerous and should not be messed with. Peter Sarsgaard is impressive in the first half but by the second half, he is overshadowed by Farmiga’s emotional and passionate portrayal. Aryana Engineer is expressive and we feel for her.
Watch Orphan with a clear head and don’t read anything related to the film. You might like it if you are into horror films and the genre. However, filmmakers should rethink the whole process of vilifying people with mental health problems and orphans.
P.S before you watch the trailer on youtube and if you haven’t watched the film, don’t read the comment section, it is full of spoilers.
Featured image: hellogiggles