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Orphan was a 2009 horror film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman. The film centered on a couple who after the death of their unborn child adopted a child. Orphan was produced by Joel Silver and Susan Downey of Dark Castle Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran of Appian Way Productions. The film was released theatrically in the United States on July 24, 2009.[1]

PlotEdit

CastEdit

  • Vera Farmiga as Katherine "Kate" Coleman.
  • Peter Sarsgaard as John Coleman.
  • Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther Coleman/Leena Klammer.
  • C. C. H. Pounder as Sister Abigail.
  • Jimmy Bennett as Daniel Coleman.
  • Aryana Engineer as Maxine "Max" Coleman.
  • Margo Martindale as Dr. Browning.
  • Karel Roden as Dr. Värava.
  • Rosemary Dunsmore as Grandma Barbara.
  • Genelle Williams as Sister Judith.

ProductionEdit

The film was mostly shot in Canada in the cities of Toronto, Port Hope and Montreal. Also, some portions of the film are shot in the American state of Connecticut. A hint of this was the vehicle's license plate throughout the movie.

"The movie Orphan comes directly from this unexamined place in popular culture. Esther’s shadowy past includes Eastern Europe; she appears normal and sweet, but quickly turns violent and cruel, especially toward her mother. These are clichés. This is the baggage with which we saddle abandoned, orphaned, or disabled children given a fresh start at family life."[2]
Esther Coleman

ReceptionEdit

The critical reaction to Orphan was mixed with the film earning a rating of 56% (43% among the Top Critics) on Rotten Tomatoes[3] where the consensus was: "While it had moments of dark humor and the requisite scares, Orphan failed to build on it's interesting premise and degenerated into a formulaic, sleazy horror/thriller". It also earned a 42 out of 100 on Metacritic.[4] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Orphan 3½ stars out of 4, writing: "You wanted a good horror film about a child from Hell. You got one."[5] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle also gave a positive review, saying: "Orphan provided everything that you might expect in a psycho-child thriller, but with such excess and exuberance that it still had the power to surprise."[6]

Todd McCarthy of Variety was less impressed, writing: "Teasingly enjoyable rubbish through the first hour, Orphan became genuine trash during it's protracted second half."[7] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote, "Actors have to eat like the rest of us, if evidently not as much, but you still have to wonder how the independent film mainstays Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard ended up wading through Orphan and, for the most part, not laughing."[8] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D+ score, saying, "Orphan was not scary — it was garish and plodding."[9]

Openly (And at times vehemently) negative reviews are abundant: From "galling, distasteful trash" (Eric D. Snider)[10] to "old-fashioned and trashy horror flick" (Emanuel Levy)[11] and "relentlessly bad", albeit "entertaining" (Rob Vaux).[12] According to Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews, "The problem with Orphan was not merely that the film was idiotic--it was that it was also sleazy, formulaic and repellant."[13] And according to Keith Phipps from The A.V. Club, "If director Jaume Collet-Serra set out to make a parody of horror-film clichés, he succeeded brilliantly."[14]

Although the film received mixed reviews, Isabelle Fuhrman's performance was acclaimed and positively received. Emanuel Levy said of Fuhrman "acquitted herself with a strong performance, affecting a rather convincing Russian accent and executing sheer evil with an admirable degree of calm and earnestness."[15] Todd McCarthy proclaimed that Fuhrman (As well as Bennett and Engineer) was terrific and she "made Esther calmly beyond reproach even when faced with monumental evidence against her and had the requisite great evil eye."[16] Mick LaSalle continued in that Fuhrman "stole the show" and she "injected nuance into this portrayal as well as an arch spirit."[17] And as said by Roger Ebert, she "was not going to be convincing as a nice child for a long, long time."[18]

The film was the #4 film at the box office for it's opening weekend, making $12.77 million total, behind G-Force, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Ugly Truth respectively. As of September 9, 2009, the film grossed a total of $47,886,036.[19]

References Edit

External linksEdit


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