THE ORPHANAGE-Spain-105 Mins. 2007
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Written by Sergio Sanchez
Belen Rueda as Laura
Fernando Caya as Carlos
Roger Princep as Simon
Oscar Casas as Tomas
Geraldine Chaplin as Aurora
The Orphanage had better watch out. A movie this excellent screams remake, and with Hollywood being the land of remakes right now it is only a matter of time before some producer with limited originality gets his hands on it. Of course, like the majority of remakes that have come out of Tinseltown in the last 10 or more years, it will be screwed up so badly that no one will want to see the original. I can go on record as saying that anyone who doesn’t see this film is doing themselves a great disservice.
In a nutshell I can tell you that this is film in which a mother (brilliantly portrayed by Belen Rueda) must confront the ghosts of her past in order to find and be with her missing child. To tell you anymore would be wrong. I want you to see this film. I want you to feel as frightened and as enchanted by it as I was. There are moments in this film that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. This movie had me on the edge of my chair throughout it’s entirety. I have to say without a doubt that this is one of the best ghost stories I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. There was never a moment in this film where I felt bored or was able to guess what might be coming next. What makes this film even more amazing is that it is the feature film debut of its’ director J.A. Bayona, who until this film had only helmed music videos and short films. To say that he has a bright future ahead of him as a film maker is clearly evident after this excellent film. I can not stop raving about it. Whatever you do, put this film on your list of must-sees. You will not be disappointed.
Oh, and one more thing: Please see this film before it gets remade and screwed up. The day is coming. I can feel it.
One of the orphaned children Laura identifies in the photo she is shown she calls “Guillermo”, an obvious nod to the Producer of the film, Guillermo Del Toro. You also see his name during the scene where the window behind Laura smashes and she reveals the names of the old orphans and the dolls.
To prepare for her role, Juan Antonio Bayona had ‘Belen Rueda’ watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Innocents.
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