Orphan (2009) Poster



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  • After suffering a miscarriage, Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) and her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child to fill the void. Their choice is nine-year-old Russian orphan Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). Esther charms John and their five-year-old deaf-mute daughter Maxine "Max" (Aryana Engineer), but their son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) is hostile to her. Bad things seem to happen whenever Esther is around. Soon Kate begins to suspect that Esther isn't the angelic little girl she appears to be and begins to delve into her past. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Orphan is based on a story and screenplay by Alex Mace and David Leslie Johnson. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Though never stated outright anywhere in the movie, it apparently takes place in Hamden, Connecticut. All of the vehicles have Connecticut license plates; Kate picks up Max at the "Hamden School for the Deaf"; and at least one police car is marked "Hamden". Kate mentions that she used to teach at Yale University in New Haven, of which Hamden is a suburb. However, none of Hamden (or any other part of Connecticut) was actually used for filming. The movie was shot entirely in Canada, split between Ontario and Quebec studios and locations. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • During the adoption proceedings, Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) says that Esther was adopted by the Sullivan family from the Sludyanka Orphanage in Russia, but the Sullivans were later killed in a house fire, which is how Esther ended up at Saint Mariana's Home for Girls. Later, when Kate starts to become suspicious of Esther, she contacts the Sludyanka orphanage and is surprised when they tell her that they have no record of Esther being there. She notices the name of the Saarne Institute in Estonia on Esther's Bible, phones them for information, and is told that Esther couldn't have come from there because they're a mental hospital, not an orphanage. Kate decides to send the Saarne Institute a photo to see if anyone recognizes her (they do), so it appears that Esther was originally from Estonia. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Estonia is one of the 3 Baltic countries (Estonia, Lithuania & Latvia) & lies in Eastern Europe, just across the gulf south of Finland. It is bordered on the south by Latvia, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Baltic Sea. Although Estonia is now an independent country, it was controlled by the Soviet Union until 1991. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Aryana Engineer is hearing impaired but can speak, read lips, and hear with hearing aids. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • I never held you, but I feel you. You never spoke, but I hear you. I never knew you, but I love you. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Sister Abigail thinks it's because Esther thinks of herself as a princess, but it eventually comes out that she's hiding scars from previous attempts to get out of a straitjacket. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • After falling from the treehouse, Daniel is rushed to the hospital with abdominal bleeding. Ultimately, he survives, evidenced when one of the doctors says that they have a pulse and John later tells Max that Daniel is going to be okay. There is also a scene in which John tells Kate that he's taking the children home and that Daniel will be home in a few days. In an early draft of the script, however, he did not survive. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • They were the roses from Baby Jessica's dedication garden. Esther knew about the roses because Kate had shown them to her several days ago and told her, "As long as these roses grow, she will too." Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Apparently, Kate had a drinking problem and passed out, leaving Max in the car, and it somehow slipped into the pond. If John hadn't saved Max, she would have drowned. Although Max survived, she did end up with a permanent hearing defect, which is a continuous source of guilty feelings for Kate. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • While in the hospital, Kate gets a call on her cellphone from Doctor Varava (Karel Roden) at the Saarne Institute. He recognized Esther from the photo Kate sent. Turns out that Esther is really Leena Klammer, a 33-year-old woman with a pituitary disorder that makes her look smaller and younger than her actual age. Leena was one of their most violent patients and escaped from the Institute a year ago. When Varava learns that Esther is home with Kate's husband, he advises her to call the police and to get her family out of the house. Knowing that John won't believe her, Kate races home through a snowstorm to warn him. Meanwhile, having been rebuffed by John, Esther trashes her room. When John hears the noise, he looks in her room, but Esther is not there. However, in the dim light of the fish tank, he notices Esther's paintings for what they really are—images of violence visible only under black light. Suddenly, all the power goes off. After checking the electrical panel, John continues to search for Esther. She suddenly comes from nowhere and begins stabbing him. Esther, looking now like the 33-year-old she really is, looks up the stairs to see Max watching her. Max hides while Esther grabs the gun from the safe and goes looking for her. Kate makes it home and sees John lying in a pool of blood. She goes looking for Max, but Esther shoots her in the shoulder. Kate hides in the bathroom and eases herself through the window out onto the greenhouse roof. Through the glass panels, she can see Max hiding among the plants. Kate signs to Max to continue hiding, but when Esther enters the greenhouse with the gun, Kate crashes through the greenhouse roof, landing on Esther and knocking her out. Kate takes the gun out of Esther's hand and carries Max outside just as the police start to arrive. Suddenly, Esther attacks Kate and attempts to stab her with a knife. They slide down a hill and land on the ice-covered pond. Esther continues to slash at Kate, so Max picks up the gun (dropped by Kate) and tries to shoot Esther, hitting the ice instead. The ice begins to crack, plunging both Kate and Esther into the water. Kate fights to reach the surface and climb out, but Esther pulls her back into the water, stabbing her again in the process. Kate punches Esther, knocking her out long enough to pull herself from the water, but Esther grabs her leg and tries to pull her back in while pleading, "Please don't let me die, Mommy." Kate replies, "I'm not your fucking Mommy!" Giving Esther a swift kick, she breaks Esther's neck, and Esther slides back into the water. In the final scene, Kate and Max climb back up the hill where they are met by the police. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The alternate ending takes place right after Kate falls on top of Esther, knocking her unconscious in the green house, and Kate and Max are able to escape. Esther then goes in her room and changes. She reapplies her makeup, which makes her look nine years old again. She then puts on the dress she wore for her first day of school and greets the police, who arrived after receiving Kate's frantic call, by curtseying and introducing. It is not explained whether or not she has killed Kate and Max in the alternate ending, although the body of John can be seen. Viewers may be in hopes of a sequel after seeing the alternate ending and Esther undoubtedly alive in it. Though anything is possible in horror movies, it's been confirmed that the director signed a contract with the company Dark Castle, promising that there will be no sequel to Orphan. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Early drafts of the script say that Esther was abused and molested by her father, resulting in her inability to bear children. Told by her father and his girlfriend that she could never bear a child like a "real woman", she murdered them and was ultimately sent to Saarne, a mental institution. She also worked as a prostitute in Estonia until she was eventually arrested and placed in an orphanage. As a result of her condition, her abuse and her father's cruel words, she is full of rage and will do anything to gain what she believes is the perfect family: one where she serves as beloved wife and mother. Consequently, she chooses to keep up the pretense of being a child while trying to find "love" with her adoptive fathers. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The original trailer was edited because some people found the line offensive when taken out of context. An article archived here explains it. The original trailer can no longer be found anywhere on the surface world-wide web, it would seem. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Other films that feature children who are not as innocent as they seem include The Bad Seed (1956) (1956) (remake The Bad Seed (1985) (1985)), The Omen (1976) (1976) (remake The Omen (2006) (2006)), Village of the Damned (1960) (1960) (remake Village of the Damned (1995) (1995)), Case 39 (2009) (2009), Mikey (1992) (1992), and The Good Son (1993) (1993). Another movie starring Vera Farminga and dealing with similar subject matter is Joshua (2007) (2007). Edit (Coming Soon)


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