The Others (2001 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alejandro Amenábar|
|Written by||Alejandro Amenábar|
|Music by||Alejandro Amenábar|
|Edited by||Nacho Ruiz Capillas|
|Box office||$209.9 million|
The film won eight Goya Awards, including awards for Best Film and Best Director. This was the first English-language film ever to receive the Best Film Award at the Goyas (Spain's national film awards), without a single word of Spanish spoken in it. The Others was nominated for six Saturn Awards including Best Director and Best Writing for Amenábar and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Alakina Mann, and won three: Best Horror Film, Best Actress for Kidman and Best Supporting Actress for Fionnula Flanagan. Kidman was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Drama and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, with Amenábar being nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, a rare occurrence for a horror film.
Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) is a devout Roman Catholic mother who lives with her two small children in a remote country house in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), have an uncommon disease, characterized by photosensitivity, so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight. The arrival of three servants at the house — aging Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), elderly gardener Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and a mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) — coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear they are not alone.
Anne draws pictures of four people: a man, woman, a boy called Victor, and an old woman, all of whom she says she has seen in the house numerous times. Grace finds a 19th-century "book of the dead," an album of mourning portrait photos of deceased family members and hears noises in the house. She tries hunting down the "intruders" but cannot find them. She does not believe her daughter until she hears the ghosts herself. Convinced that something unholy is in the house, she runs out in the fog to get the local priest to bless the house. Meanwhile, the servants are up to something of their own: the gardener buries headstones under autumn leaves.
Outside, Grace discovers her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston), who she thought had been killed in the war, and brings him back to the house. Charles is distant during the one day he spends there, and Mrs. Mills says, "I do not think he knows where he is." Grace later sees an old woman dressed up like her daughter and attacks her, terrified. However, she finds that she has actually attacked her daughter instead. Mrs. Mills tells a distraught Anne that she too has seen the people. Charles says he must leave for the front and disappears again.
One morning, Grace wakes to the children's screams: all of the curtains in the house have disappeared, as Anne had said they might. When Grace sees the servants are not alarmed by this, she realizes they are somehow involved and banishes them from the house. That night, Anne and Nicholas sneak outside to find their father, and stumble across the hidden graves, which they realize belong to the servants. At the same time, Grace finds a photograph from the book of the dead and is horrified to see it is of the three servants. The servants appear and follow the children back to the house. They reveal that they died of tuberculosis more than 50 years before. They tell Grace that she must now go and talk to "them."
Grace has the children hide but they are found by the strange old woman. She then walks upstairs to the bedroom with her rosary beads. There, she, Anne, and Nicholas discover that the old woman is acting as a medium in a séance with Victor's parents. It is then they learn the truth: Anne, Nicholas and Grace are themselves ghosts; Grace is believed to have killed the children in a fit of psychosis before taking her own life. In a frenzy of denial, Grace shakes the séance table, and rips the paper on it. Victor's family sees only the table shaking and the paper being ripped.
As Grace and the children huddle together in shock, her memories return to her: stricken with grief for her missing husband and increasingly frustrated by their isolation, Grace went insane and smothered her children with a pillow. Realizing what she had done, she put a rifle to her forehead and pulled the trigger. When she then "awoke" and heard her children's laughter, she assumed God had granted her family a second chance at life.
Mrs. Mills tells Grace that they will learn to get along with the "intruders" who periodically come to the house, that sometimes they will notice them and sometimes they will not. The children find they are no longer sensitive to light (as they are no longer living), and for the first time, they can enjoy it. Victor's family, unable to rid the house of its former occupants' spirits, drive away as Grace and the children watch and whisper to themselves "This house is ours," and the property is again put up for sale.
- Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart
- Fionnula Flanagan as Bertha Mills
- Christopher Eccleston as Charles Stewart
- Elaine Cassidy as Lydia
- Eric Sykes as Edmund Tuttle
- Alakina Mann as Anne Stewart
- James Bentley as Nicholas Stewart
- Alexander Vince as Victor Marlish
- Keith Allen as Mr. Marlish
- Michelle Fairley as Mrs. Marlish
- Renée Asherson as the Old Lady
The production crew visited Penshurst Place in Kent to film at the Lime Walk in the gardens. The Lime Walk was used in the scene where Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) went looking for a priest in the thick fog and instead met her husband who had returned from the war. Filming locations are among other spots Las Fraguas, Cantabria, northern (Spain) and in Madrid.
The Others was released August 10, 2001 in 1,678 theaters in the United States and Canada and grossed $14 million its opening weekend, ranking fourth at the box office. It stayed in fourth for three more weeks, expanding to more theaters. During the weekend of September 21–23, it was second at the box office, grossing $5 million in 2,801 theaters. The film, which cost $17 million to produce, eventually grossed $96.5 million in the United States and Canada and $113.4 million in other countries, for a worldwide total gross of $209.9 million.
Many critics praised the performances of the stars especially Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 148 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 29 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars out of four, praising that "...Alejandro Amenábar has the patience to create a languorous, dreamy atmosphere, and Nicole Kidman succeeds in convincing us that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric". However, he noted that "in drawing out his effects, Amenábar is a little too confident that style can substitute for substance."
- Goya Awards:
- Best Cinematography (Javier Aguirresarobe)
- Best Director (Alejandro Amenábar)
- Best Editing (Nacho Ruiz Capillas)
- Best Film
- Best Production Design
- Best Production Supervision
- Best Original Screenplay (Alejandro Amenábar)
- Best Sound
- Kansas City Film Critics:
- Best Actress (Nicole Kidman)
- London Film Critics:
- Best Actress of the Year (Nicole Kidman)
- Online Film Critics:
- Best Actress (Nicole Kidman)
- Best Original Screenplay (Alejandro Amenábar)
- Saturn Awards:
In popular culture
- Scary Movie 3 includes parodies of scenes from the film, particularly the famous "I am your daughter" sequence.
- Hum Kaun Hai is a Hindi remake of The Others
- Spanish Movie is a parody film that spoofs several successful Spanish horror/drama films, primarily The Others but also The Orphanage, Pan's Labyrinth, REC, and others.
- Australian Band Elora Danan wrote a song about the film called "Thank God for Their Growth in Faith and Love" (a line seen on the children's blackboard in a later scene) which was a track on their debut EP We All Have Secrets.
- Electronic music artist Venetian Snares uses a sample from the film in the song "Children's Limbo" on the album Find Candace.
- Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror XXV includes a segment spoofing the film in which the Simpsons are haunted by their former selves from The Tracey Ullman Show.
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- Skidelsky, Will. "Classics corner: The Turn of the Screw," The Observer (29 May 2010).