If you read my previous blog, you know that I made the Orphan the best horror movie of 2009. With that said, it is only fitting that I start 2010 with a review of it. Obviously, I really liked this movie; so let me tell you why.
There is no better place to start than the beginning of the movie. It is so much easier to like a movie that gets off to a good start. The mother, Kate, was having a dream about going into labor. Her husband, John, had just wheeled her into the hospital, as her pain seemed to be increasing. A nurse took over and started to wheel her down the hall when she started to bleed. They took her to the delivery room, where in the middle of some chaos, they delivered her baby. The horrifying part of it was that when they showed Kate the baby, it was covered in blood. I appreciated this, not because I like seeing babies drenched in blood, but because a lot of movies wouldn't have the guts to show a baby in that situation. For a movie that was not about blood and guts, it set a good tone. This was also an important scene because it displayed how traumatized Kate was by losing her baby.
Sometimes I complain about movies doing too much set up (example The Hills Run Red) before getting to the point. This time I think everything fit if you were patient enough to let the story develop. I thought they did an excellent job of giving you a piece here, and then a piece there. All of these pieces eventually led to a big twist. In other words, I would say the story was well written. It played on your emotions, but also kept you entertained. It brought out some good drama, and plenty of suspense. You couldn’t just follow the big picture; you needed to pick up even the small details of the story.
The characters were more complex than you would think. This was especially the case with the two most important characters, Esther (the orphan) and Kate. With Kate, you learned everything that she has gone through as a mother, and how it affected raising her children. With Esther, you see how well she played the good child, while hiding the evil inside. Also, you see how Esther exploited these things to get a leg up on Kate. Other characters had complexities such as, how the little sister dealt with being deaf, and the brother having jealousy issues.
I have to take the time to mention Isabelle Fuhrman, who played the role of Esther and is only 12 years old. I try to stay away from mentioning actors/actresses and focus on the movie itself, but I just have to applaud her. She had to act way above and beyond her age. She did such a good job playing both sides of Esther's personality. She played the sweet girl that drew pictures, paid compliments, and took care of her little sister. Then, she was the same girl that smashed a bird, killed a nun, and issued some interesting threats to the other children. Even the acting she had to do after the twist was great. Overall, the acting was pretty good by everyone, including the other children.
The final thing that I am going to mention is the twist. Don’t worry, I haven’t given it away yet, and I am not going to. I just have to say that I really liked it, and that I am not ashamed to say that it completely fooled me. After watching it a second time, I could better see how the pieces fit, and how you may be able to figure it before it happened. I definitely got a better appreciation for how they set it all up. After the twist was revealed, the movie really picked up, and had an exciting and fitting end.
If this was the one movie in 2009 you missed, then it is well worth your time to rent this one right now. Even if you already saw it, watch it again, and look for the clues that led to the twist. I think you will appreciate how well this story was put together. The characters were more complex than originally thought, and were well developed. The acting was great, especially by Isabelle Fuhrman. The twist was excellent, and led to a fantastic finish. I give this movie 4.5 pools of blood.