Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55% (Critics) 65% (Audience)
Directed By: James Collet-Serra
Written By: David Leslie Johnson
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder
Studio: Warner Brothers
Synopsis: After the loss of their unborn child, Kate and John adopt an odd little Russian girl that looks like a real life Jumeu doll named Esther from the local orphanage. Almost immediately once Esther is brought into their home events begin to occur that lead Kate to suspect that the new addition to their family is much more than she seems.
Isabelle Fuhrman, the child star of this flick, is amazing. Sure her Russian accent is a bit dodgy but she more than delivers on the deranged, murderous child part of Esther. She is almost as good at playing genuine, childlike evil as the original Bad Seed herself Patty McCormack.
The movie also does a pretty good job (for a while at least) of depicting a marriage in shambles and a family unit that is being held together by the flimsiest of strings.
The movie was waaaay too long at 123 minutes; I could name a ton of scenes that they could have cut to get this project down to a manageable 90 or so minutes. It also wasn’t particularly scary or even shocking at all which is a bummer for what was supposed to be a horror movie.
Also most of the events in this movie required an elevated suspension of disbelief. A little kid plotting evil schemes and murdering people would not be something that goes unnoticed so all of the adult characters in this movie have to behave like brain dead morons in order for Esther’s machinations to actually be successful. And behave like brain dead morons they do…from the nun from the orphanage to Kate and John, the adults in this movie are downright buffoonish.
And what did this family need another kid for? They already had two little brats that they were barely raising…how would throwing some creepy little immigrant girl into the mi make things better?
The “BIG TWIST”. Yep, Orphan is one of those movies that was marketed as having a “BIG TWIST”. And not just any “BIG TWIST”, mind you, oh no, Orphan’s “BIG TWIST” was supposedly so shocking that you could never guess what it was. Ever. In your whole life. Not ever.
So of course I guessed the “BIG TWIST” about 15 minutes in. And it wasn’t really all that twisty. Stupid? Yes indeed but not very twisty at all. I mean the premise was basically lifted from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon for goodness sake! I started referring to Esther as Finster in my head by about the 30-minute mark and wondering where the bag of money from the bank robbery was hidden in the house.
In the end Orphan was a movie that started well and then got bogged down in its own ridiculousness. If the director had embraced the fact that this movie quickly devolved into one gigantic clusterfuck then it would have fared better but instead they continued to try and play it too serious. As a result the movie totally fell apart by the second half. C