Tag: adopt

Orphan


Orphan (2009)
★★★ / ★★★★

I was pleasantly surprised how effective this psychological thriller was. With a running time of two hours, it was able to build up the tension it needed to truly scare the audience when the evil child began to unravel what she was capable of. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, “Orphan” was about a mother who is still mourning for the loss of her baby (Vera Farmiga), a father who wants to help the family move on from a tragic loss (Peter Sarsgaard), and their decision to adopt a precocious girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) to join their family. Little did they know that Esther has a plethora of secrets of her own and it would take a great deal of effort and energy (and a whole lot of convincing) to unravel just one of them. It is really difficult for me to say any more about this film without giving away the final twist. But let me just say that this movie did not cheat (i.e. result into supernatural explanation or fancy camera work) to achieve that twist so I was impressed. This picture definitely reminded me of “The Good Son” and “The Omen,” just because a child was a villain in both. However, I think this film was on a different level of excitement because, unlike “The Good Son,” the villain’s methods are much more graphic yet insidious, and unlike “The Omen,” it is actually grounded in realism and that made the picture more haunting. I also liked the fact that the other two kids in the family (Jimmy Bennett and Aryana Engineer) had important roles that drove the movie forward. If I were to nitpick, the only thing I thought the movie could have worked on was the history regarding Esther. By the end of the film, I felt like there were a lot more that the audiences did not find out about her and what made her the way she is. Other than Farmiga as the mother who no one believes in and labels as paranoid (which brought “Rosemary’s Baby” to mind), Fuhrman is a stand out. I want to see her in more movies and her range of acting because she made me believe that a child was capable of doing all those horrible things. Even though “child-killer” movies have been done before, I enjoyed this flick because I could not help but imagine that if I was in the mother’s situation, I would do absolutely anything to keep that evil child away from me and my family.

Marley & Me


Marley & Me (2008)
★★★ / ★★★★

“Marley & Me” was based on a memoir by John Grogan starring Owen Wilson (as Grogan) and Jennifer Aniston (as Grogan’s wife). Wanting to start a family, Wilson and Aniston adopt a Labrador Retriever for two hundred dollars. As Marley grows up, the two leads learn a plethora of life lessons ranging from the dynamics of marriage, balancing job with personal life, raising a family, and staying true to one’s self. Although Marley is not exactly the most well-behaved dog, his energy, ability to destroy furniture and inability to follow his owners’ rules are qualities that make him charming. Although the film is cute and cuddly at first glance, I must give credit to David Frankel, the director, for actually telling a story under the sugar and fluff. Wilson and Aniston were actually given things to do such as when they had to deal with trying to have children and sacrificing their careers. There were moments in the film that carried real dramatic weight because we not only care about the dog but also the dog’s owners. We were able to see how the owners were like when they were on the top of the world and when they were feeling ashamed and defeated. The film was around two hours long and sometimes it seemed to drag on. However, when the final few scenes arrived, I realized that it worked in its favor. I was able to look back on the things that happened when Marley was just a clearance puppy and Aniston and Wilson didn’t have children yet. Although the ending was a bit depressing, it was necessary because this movie was ultimately about celebrating life. I was surprisingly moved by this film because it made me look back on my own life and the choices I’ve made that got me to where I am. “Marley & Me” is not just about a cute dog. There’s a well-defined emotional core and that’s why I was invested in it from beginning to end. Dog-lovers will definitely enjoy this picture.