Released 2009


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Movie Summary

Jaume Collet-Serra
Orphan is the cult 2009 horror thriller that presents a unique contemporary twist on the evil killer child genre, from director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Unknown) and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson (Red Riding Hood). The not always happily married couple John (Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass) and Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga, The Departed) want to compensate the loss of their third stillborn baby by adopting a child from Sister Abigail's orphanage. They promptly fall in love with the 9-year-old Esther, an incredibly polite and eloquent girl with a somewhat peculiar dressing style and Russian roots. They take her home and hope to raise the perfect family with her and the other two kids, Daniel and the deaf/mute little girl Maxine. Esther quickly sows fear and terror in school and around the playground, but the other children are too petrified to betray her. When Kate also accuses Esther of being a demonic child, her husband and therapist blame it on her alcoholic background and hallucinations. Meanwhile Esther's vile acts become increasingly horrific and more diabolical.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times

    Clocking in at more than two hours, the movie teeters between psychological horror and violent blood-letting and, as such, probably won't completely satisfy fans in either camp.

  • 40

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    There's something creepy, and not pleasurably so, about watching children pantomime so much malice and fear.

  • 40

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Teasingly enjoyable rubbish through the first hour, Orphan becomes genuine trash during its protracted second half.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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  • NOTES (1)

    • The original script explains why Esther attempts to seduce her adoptive fathers. When Leena Klammer was a baby she was raped by her own father. This caused her to be born as a midget. When her father took in a lover he told her it was because that she would never become a real woman. In a fit of rage Leena killed them both. Leena was sent to the Saarne mental institute. Leena had successfully  managed to escape from Saarne where she got a Job as a hooker caring for wealthy people. When Leena  was arrested she pretended to be a child to avoid prison. Leena was sent to an orphanage. Leena took on the identity of Esther a non-extistant orphan girl. Leena sees herself trapped inside the body of a child and she hates it. She wants to become a real woman and tries to find love where  she believes she had it when  she was a child.


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