Orphanage, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo. Suspense/horror. Spanish, with subtitles. Written by Sergio G. Sanchez. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Laura, her husband, and their adopted son move into what used to be the orphanage where Laura spent her childhood years. She wants to reopen it for children with disabilities. There is a problem their boy has several imaginary friends who haunt the place. Suddenly, he disappears and Laura spends the next 9 months trying to communicate with the ghosts of her childhood, believing they hold the key to finding her son.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Its eerie, creepy and nerve tingling, but its also unsettling in a spiritual sense. While some surmise mysterious apparitions to be the spirits of the dead returning from another dimension, I think they are either angels sent to comfort or demons sent to mislead and unsettle humans. I realize my theory may sound as sci-fi to some as the belief in ghosts does to others, but through my interpretation of scripture, Im led to believe that there are both angels and demons and that when people die they go to Heaven, some to stay, others to be judged. I dont think they return to make guest appearances. Of course, if youve had a loved one pass away, youd like to believe they return to comfort. I think, and this is just my interpretation, thats the job of angels (Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14). Perhaps Im wrong. Maybe God does occasionally send those we miss to help us through our times of unrest. Either way, I suspect that our Heavenly Father does not send spirits to haunt.

In Leviticus 19:31 we are told to avoid mediums and spiritists, but in this film, one such person is invited into the home in hope of communicating with the missing child (a psychic summonsing). The mother doesnt believe in God, but she is so desperate, she turns to spiritualists in order to find peace. So, while the film is well acted and the atmosphere satisfyingly spooky (though there is no redemptive message), its spiritual connotations are misleading and, therefore, counterproductive to a spiritual walk.

Well, that sounds rather sanctimonious, doesnt it? I dont mean it to be. But my job is watching this stuff so you dont have to. During and after the film, I felt an uneasiness and depression. While I dont believe Christians can be possessed, I do believe demons can be oppressive if we open ourselves to their influence.

DVD alternative: Ponette (1997). French with subtitles. After the death of her mother, a child attempts to understand where her mother is and believes if she can get close enough to God, He will send the mother back. Sometimes difficult to view, as we are frustrated that we cannot relieve her sadness. But an insightful look at the world of children, an uplifting ending and the performances of the three lead children make for great adult entertainment. Positive portrayal of a Christian woman as she relates the story of Christ to this little one. Four-year-old Victoire Thivisol won the 1996 Venice Film Festival Best Actress that year. How they got such a dynamic, moving performance out of this cherub is beyond me, but even if she never does another thing, this little girl has greatly contributed to the world of art. Not rated (3 or 4 obscenities, but I caught no misuse of God's name; adult subject matter as the lost of a parent and subsequent unhappy searching for her mother may disturb children).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Two obscenities (the s- and f-words) and a few expletives.

Profanity: None

Violence: We see a jolting car accident, with the body of an old woman left, her jaw torn off gruesome; a woman is injured by a kid, she later breaks her leg; several jolting scenes; a boy is missing, presumed dead; a woman commits suicide. Blood: Some blood as the womans hand is injured.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The woman takes pain killers.

Other: A medium is called in; the story has to do with ghosts of children haunting a home.

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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