Written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar.
Running Time: 104 mins
Rated: MA 15+
This was the last film Tom and Nicole made before their marriage broke down. She stars, he produces.
Grace (Kidman) is a devout Catholic who lives in a large home on Jersey. It's 1945, the war is over, but Grace watches and waits for her husband, Charles, to return from the battle. He is listed as missing in action. Three Irish servants turn up to help her run the manor house. Grace's children, Nicholas (James Bentley), Anna (Alakina Mann) are allergic to sunlight. Anna sees ghosts. Charles returns and disappears again. It all comes to a head when Grace starts to see the ghosts too.
If you like haunted house stories then The Others is for you. It is masterfully shot, magnificently edited, has a fine sound design, great sets which are meticulously decorated, and the multi-talented Alejandro Amenabar writes, directs and composes a suitably eerie score. Like most films in the fantastique genre The Others requires a big suspension of belief.
What marks this film out from its peers, is the strong Spanish influence in the story and the look of the film. It drips Catholicism, and not always kindly. The Book of Genesis, the rosary, iconography, limbo, faith versus superstition, the communion of saints, and obsessive piety all get a run here. The acting is first rate with Kidman appearing in nearly every scene, realising a very physical performance, weeping constantly and being especially breathy in her delivery. The child actors are particularly good.
If you liked "Truly Madly Deeply" and "The Sixth Sense" then the twists, turns, shock and pay-off in The Others will be worth the admission.
Richard Leonard SJ