Monday, December 7, 2009
The Orphan (2009, Jaume Collet-Serra)
When I first saw a trailer for this film, I (as did many other folks) instantly thought it looked like a ripoff of the Macaulay Culkin movie from the 90's The Good Son. I liked the Good Son and was a little perturbed that they would try to make some crappy rehash. Sure the girl playing the orphan looks pretty creepy and pretty damn crazy, but c'mon - what could top lovable Macaulay Culkin, star of such family friendly movies as Home Alone and Uncle Buck play a psychopathic kid?
The Orphan is about a married couple whose third child dies during childbirth. After some time passes, they are ready to adopt and go to a local orphanage where they find Esther. She is intelligent, lovable and caring. But soon after coming to live with her new family, "accidents" start happening to those around Esther. Her new mother Kate (Vera Farmiga) eventually realizes that Esther isn't the innocent child that her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard) thinks she is.
Despite some obvious similarities to The Good Son, The Orphan was actually a fine film. Much better and more original than I was expecting. Isabelle Fuhrman is excellent as the devious Esther, far more mature and talented than most her age. There were some genuinely scary scenes and the ending was very unexpected and shocking. Though I still have a fondness for The Good Son, The Orphan is a worthy adversary to good ol' Mac.