When I was making my Best of 2009 list, I realized that I haven't reviewed two of the films yet, so I'm going to review them this week. One of them was Orphan.
After their third child was stillborn, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child. They adopt 9-year-old Esther, who is Estonian and a bit strange, always wearing frilly dresses, carrying a Bible to school and saying mean things. Kate quickly realizes that there's something wrong with Esther, but being a recovering alcoholic, John doesn't believe her. So she must try to save her family herself, before it's too late.
The plot of this film is very similar to the novel, The Godsend by Bernard Taylor. In the novel, a family adopts a baby girl and the father thinks she is evil, while the mother won't believe it. If you liked Orphan, try reading The Godsend, it's one of the best killer kid stories I've come across and I guarantee you'll enjoy it.
While the plot of Orphan isn't anything new, the twist is unique and surprising. With all the talk of the shocking twist, I tried so hard to figure out what it was but didn't come close.
And the acting in the film sets it apart. Isabelle Furhman (Esther) was only 10-years-old when they filmed it and still managed to make Esther one creepy little kid AND pull off a believable Russian accent. The other kids, Jimmy Bennett (Daniel) and Aryana Engineer (Max) did a great job as well.
It takes awhile for the film to really get going, dedicating a bunch of scenes to establishing Esther's strangeness/ craziness, but it's always interesting and atmospheric.
As I've already mentioned, I thought this film was one of the best of 2009. It's creepy, has great performances and a twist that no one will ever guess. Definitely a treat for killer kid fans.