Review: The Orphanage


Director:Juan Antonio Bayona

Cast:Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep

Running Time:98 Minutes


As a child Laura was placed in an orphanage, cared for by its staff and calling its walls home. Now, thirty years later Laura is back, attempting to transform the forgotten mansion into yet again, an orphanage. However the house comes with a troubling past, one that even Laura is unaware of. As soon as they arrive the house quickly takes hold of Laura's son's imagination, transcending his imaginary friends into real life possibilities. Before long Laura is wrapped up in it too, sent on a desperate journey to discover the truth that has remained hidden within the walls of the orphanage for almost thirty years.

Produced by Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro The Orphanage plays everything perfectly; mixing emotion with creepiness, hostility and uncertainty the film plays to the viewer's imagination, sucking them into a conclusion that will send chills down your spine as you discover that the truth has been before your very eyes all along.

The film's strongest point is that of its story. Tugging at your emotions the film demands the use of your imagination as it forces you to absorb the characters and the life that they lead. From Simon's first expedition into the caves to his sudden disappearance the truth is never obvious yet always present. Director Bayona does a brilliant job of capturing the emotions and aggression of Belen Rueda who is in almost every scene as the lead character Laura. Through the capture of her eyes and body language the viewers are able to grasp the intensity and anxiety that Laura is going through, creating yet another layer of thought provoking material to the stack. In short the story is intelligent, playing more mind games than anything else, and it really drives home an eerie tone that can only be conveyed through brilliant story telling.

Another good thing about the film is its cast. With no high profile actor on screen the audience is able to concentrate on the story and the up and coming talent in Belen Rueda. Conveying Laura's intensity and emotions is no easy task; however Rueda pulled it off flawlessly, creating the true spark that helped propel this film into greatness. Don't get me wrong though, a strong supporting cast featuring the likes of Fernando Cayo and Roger Princep helped round out the film and really give the audience something to look at.

All in all the film was great. Thriving on its story and its "˜creepy' feeling the film is easily marked as one of the creepiest, weirdest and ultimately devastating films in recent memory.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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