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Running Time:
1 hour, 40 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for some disturbing content.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This psychological thriller is an eerie, atmospheric and unexpectedly poignant ghost story.

Additional Info:
DVD Features:
Closed Caption; "When Laura Grew Up: Constructing the Orphanage"; "Tomas' Secret Room (The filmmakers)"; "Horror in the Unknow: Makeup Effects"; Still galleries; Rehearsal studio; Marketing campaign

The Orphanage
An attractive middle aged couple and their adorable, seven-year-old son live near the beach in an old orphanage in a gorgeous coastal part of Spain. The mother, Laura (Belén Rueda), grew up in the building and she and her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo), plan to open it again as a home for children with special needs. Their son Simón (Roger Príncep) is lonely boy and seems to be getting a little too involved with his two invisible friends. One day, Laura and Simón go for a walk down by the sea cliffs and the boy gets lost in a cave, and she can't find him.

Laura's practical-minded husband relies on the police to attempt to solve the disappearance of the boy, and police psychologist Pilar (Mabel Ribera) becomes involved in the investigation. Meanwhile, Laura hysterically believes the spirit world has taken her child and after Simon is missing for 9 months she consults a medium named Aurora (Geraldine Chaplin). When the boy is finally found, he appears to have made a few more imaginary friends, and things are never quite the same after that.

First-time director Juan Antonio Bayona seems to be following in the footsteps of his mentor/producer, Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labrinth"). He's assembled a wonderful cast including Belén Rueda as Laura, who gives an intense performance displaying a sense of guilt and loss, particularly when she starts to get an inkling of the dark world she's led her fragile family into. The boy Simón, played by Roger Príncep is unbelievably cute and endearing.

Though it's a beautifully crafted and well acted film, it's not not as good as Pan's Labyrinth. The screenplay is less tight, and the secondary characters are not as interesting. But if you enjoy ghost stories and are willing to be patient with a film that gradually unveils its secrets rather than uncovering them in an orgy of violence, you'll find it quite compelling and unexpectedly poignant

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