When Orphan arrived in theaters earlier this year, I was sure it was going to be another generic "creepy kid" movie. How could I have known that it was going to be as good as it was? The movie turned out to be completely effective and rather insane. It didn't break new ground, but it took the conventions and made them work. This is a very good film that features strong writing, excellent performances, and a twist that really works. The big question going in is whether or not the thrills and twists would stand up to multiple viewings.
Well, I watched it and I have to say that it does indeed stand up to multiple viewings. If anything, I just may have liked it more this time around. The second time around allows you to focus on different things. In this case, it was the performances that really stood out to me and how they took hold of the story and took it to the next level.
We begin with John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) arriving at a hospital just as Kate is about to give birth. However, something is definitely going wrong as they wheel Kate down to the delivery room. Kate realizes it was only a nightmare when she wakes to find she is at home in bed. The couple has lost a child, and have been struggling to recover from the loss. This healing process has found them with excess love that had been reserved for the child they lost and they want to share their abundance. In order to satiate their need to give, the couple has chosen to adopt a child to join their son Danny and daughter Max, who is also almost entirely deaf.
John and Kate visit an orphanage where they immediately connect with a 9-year-old Russian girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). She is sort of an odd youngster, opting to stay away from the other kids and painting by herself in a corner. She also wears frilly dresses and ribbons around her neck and wrists. Kate tells her, "There's nothing wrong with being different." We believe her, we all know this to be true, although that is usually tougher to deal with as a child. In any case, the papers are drawn up and Esther becomes a part of the Coleman family. They have no idea what they are in for.