November 2001
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The Others: A Review
By: Laura Neufeld, Grade 12, Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler, MB

The Others is a fascinating psychological thriller. A young mother of two in 1945 must learn to cope with her husband's absence as he is fighting in World War II. Grace, her son Nicholas, and her daughter Anne live in a huge mansion all alone; their servants disappeared suddenly. Young Anne starts to claim that she sees ghosts, but her mother does not believe her. Despite Grace's strong Catholic faith, she starts to suspect that something is haunting her house. She hires servants to care for the two children and the house, at the same time trying to make things seem normal. But more and more strange things happen. With the weird twist in the end, one learns who really are the ghosts that haunt the house.

Nicole Kidman, as Grace, shines in this film. Her obvious talent for acting is very clear in this film. She develops her character in such a way that the audience feels that they know her personally, not just on the screen. Alakina Mann, as Anne, displays true potential for a future in >acting with this film. Her character is absolutely convincing. The child is brilliant, and not a brat, as are most child actors. James Bentley portrays Nicholas, and his ability to look truly terrified is outstanding. If the film would not have had this character, there would have been a missing link; but Bentley adds the final touch to this thriller.

The house, the World War II era, and the rest of the setting are all very compelling. The two children both have extreme allergies towards sunlight, and being exposed to it can cause them to break out in sores, to suffocate and possibly even to die. Because of this, all the windows are to be covered during the day with thick, heavy curtains. Each door is to be shut and locked after going through. The only light in the house is candlelight. The house itself looks dark and dreary, located far from any other civilization on a small island, surrounded by thick fog. Add these components together and the result is a truly eerie setting.

This movie creates creepiness far differently than most thrillers. Knives, special effects, blood and gore are not needed to create the suspense. It is all in the mind. Strange shadows, gas-lit lamps all over the house, silence all around but the sounds from the attic, and darkness in one room contrasting with light in another all create an uncanny and mysterious feeling throughout the entire movie.

Since I enjoy thrillers, I have a positive outlook on this movie. However, I don't recommend it for people who don't enjoy creepiness. There is one point in the movie where the suspense is so high that I screamed at the opening of a door. The film just drags one right into the house and it is easy to identify with the characters.

Although this movie is excellently done, one may need to see it twice to thoroughly appreciate it. Although the plot is at times confusing, it is strong and not predictable. This amazing production, with its strange twisted ending, brings back to life a "good ol' ghost story."


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