A woman named Grace retires with her two children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she's waiting for her husband to come back from battle. The children have a disease which means they cannot be touched by direct sunlight without being hurt in some way. They will live alone there with oppressive, strange and almost religious rules, until she needs to hire a group of servants for them. Their arrival will accidentally begin to break the rules with unexpected consequences. Written by
It is mentioned that the photo album is a book of the dead, photos taken of those who passed on so they can live on through the photograph. The discussion makes it seem as if this was something done by superstitious people, but that's not necessarily true. During Victorian times, photos were costly and many people could not afford them. This is why photos were taken after the person died as it was, inevitably, the only photo ever taken of that person. They even went so far as to create devices to hold the corpse in an upright position so they could appear to be standing (you can sometimes see the base of them in the photos). Pupils were often painted onto the closed eyes after developing and occasionally a hint of pink was added to the cheeks to make the person appear more "alive". There are many websites devoted to the history of this practice. See more »
Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... This story started many thousands of years ago, and it was all over in just 7 days. All that long long time ago, none of the things we can see now, the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, the animals and plants, not a single one existed. Only God existed. And so only he could have created them. And he did.
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Before the opening credits or music begin, we hear Grace's voice over a black screen; she says (in the manner of a mother about to tell a bedtime story), "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin." See more »
Rarely does a scary film come around that isn't schlocky and obvious. 'The Others', directed by the great Alejandro Amenabar (Abre los Ojos) is a stylish, spooky and fun film to watch that doesn't cheapen itself like so many in the genre. It is 1947 on the island of Jersey in England, and Grace (Nicole Kidman) is the mother of two small children, Charles (Christopher Eccleston) and Anne (Alakina Mann) who are allergic to the sunlight, so they are not allowed to go outside. Moreover, any room they are in has to be locked with the curtains shut, a cumbersome task in their mansion with its 50 doors. Mysteriously, the mansion's staff left the week before, which precipitates the arrival of three new servants; a gardener and two housekeepers who are promptly hired. Further complicating matters is the fact that Anne keeps talking to an unseen child, and unexplained footsteps, opened curtains and doors opening and shutting are starting to wear thin on the already uber-fragile Grace, until the occurrences threaten their lives.
With 'The Others', Amenabar gives us a truly spooky and stylish thriller. The foggy atmosphere outside of the mansion, the dark rooms lit by candles within the house, both of these are just many of the beautiful stylistic areas of the film. Kidman is great as the incredibly brittle and mentally frayed Grace. While she puts on a cool, haughty façade, the circumstances she finds herself in are clearly eating away at her sanity. The actors who play her children are actually quite good themselves, particularly Alakina Mann, who holds her own in her confrontational scenes with Kidman and others. The screenplay, also written by Amenabar is quite intelligent, and if you haven't heard the 'twist' at the end, it is pretty ingenious. It is ingenious and well-written regardless, but the impact upon discovery is pretty decent.
'The Others' is not a phenomenal film by any means, but it is a refreshing change from the standard thriller/suspense fare, because it adds a truly intelligent and stylish bent to the genre. Other than children, (obviously) this film can be recommended to pretty much anyone, as long as they don't expect it to be the frenetic, jump-cut fest that is so prevalent nowadays. 'The Others' takes its time to get to its reveal, and it is worth every minute. 7/10
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