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The Orphanage (2007)

El orfanato (original title)
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A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

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32 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Pilar
...
Benigna
...
Enrique
Edgar Vivar ...
Prof. Leo Bálaban
...
Mireia Renau ...
Laura niña
Georgina Avellaneda ...
Rita
Carla Gordillo ...
Martín
Alejandro Camps ...
Víctor
Carmen López ...
Alicia
Óscar Lara ...
Guillermo
...
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Storyline

Laura, a former orphan, raises her adopted son Simón together with her husband Carlos in an old house and former orphanage where she was raised. While at the orphanage Simón tells Laura that he has five invisible friends which she believes are a product of his active imagination. Laura decides to reopen the orphanage to cater for disabled children and throws a party. During the party Simón tries to persuade Laura to go and take a look at his friends cabin but she's too busy. Later on she sees a mysterious masked boy and realizes that Simón has also disappeared. Laura feels the presence of other people in the house and months later Laura invites a team of parapsychologists to try to unravel the mystery. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No secret stays locked away forever See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Orphanage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

€3,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€5,247,378 (Spain), 14 October 2007, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$338,024, 30 December 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,161,284

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$79,252,330
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Sergio G. Sanchez' wrote the screenplay in 1996, ending up in J.A. Bayona's lap in 2004. Bayona then approached his friend, Guillermo del Toro, to help him produce the film and double the budget and shooting schedule. See more »

Goofs

Pilar describes the old cine film that Laura views as 8mm, but when we see the projector, the film is actually 16mm. See more »

Quotes

Aurora: Seeing is not believing. It's the other way around. Believe, and you will see.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pieces of wallpaper are peeled off to reveal each of the opening credits. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A satisfying thriller on one hand; an equally rich emotional journey on the other
8 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

I went into a screening of this today knowing only that it was about a woman who buys the home she lived in as an orphaned child, planning to open it to other orphans, that it mixed fantasy and reality, and that Guillermo del Toro of 'Pan's Labyrinth' had a hand in it. I didn't have any expectations. Even if I did, I certainly not have expected what I got. 'El Orfanato' surprised me first in successfully thrilling me with its surface, and surprised me again in how deeply it moved me with its core.

When Laura (the marvelous Belén Rueda) moves back into the house that used to be the orphanage she lived in as a girl, she is thirty-seven, married, and she and her husband have adopted a son - Simón, a little boy with HIV who doesn't know that he's terminally ill or adopted. Simón is wildly creative - he has several imaginary friends and a penchant for treasure hunts, mind games, and the story of Peter Pan. One day shortly after a mysterious visit from a social worker and Simón's revelation that he knows the truth about his adoption and illness, Simón disappears. The rest of the film follows Laura's desperate search for her son as she comes to terms with her loss and her own past as well.

Screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez does a masterful job of balancing the thriller with the drama. Laura's attempts to connect with everything that haunts her and her home are darkly touching, though slightly psychologically twisted. The acting is strong, and the directing, editing, cinematography, and music all work together well. Some of the sound effects - the constant creaking, wind blowing, etc. - got wearisome as the film went on, and some of the thrills were a little cheap - I won't ruin it for anyone by revealing them - though, admittedly, they were effective all the same. The story dragged a little towards the end and during the scene with the medium - cutting it just a little shorter might have been equally as effective and easier on the viewer.

Bottom line: even if you don't like "scary" movies (like me), you'll probably still appreciate and enjoy the more thrilling aspects. If you're a horror flick buff, you'll probably find some of the thriller elements a little tired and overdone. Either way, it's still worth seeing - the exploration of Laura's heart and mind are both lovely and tragic to behold, and though the film is morbid, it is beautiful as well.


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