Vera Farmiga as: Kate Coleman
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Selected Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, John Coleman, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jimmy Bennett, Aryana Engineer, Karel Roden
Written by: David Johnson
Release Year: 2009
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
MPAA Rating: R
Kate and John Coleman are rebuilding their troubled marriage. Kate had a drinking problem, but is in therapy and is doing well. She has been sober for one year. The couple decides to adopt a child. When they meet the nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther, at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan.
Their young son, Daniel, is hostile to his new sister; but their deaf-mute daughter, little Max, is enchanted with her – at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically disturbed. John refuses to listen to his wife’s misgivings, and the wounds in their marriage reopen.
Kate calls Sister Abigail at the orphanage, and the nun informs her that Esther has a troubled and mysterious history. Kate delves further into Esther’s past and discovers she is not at all who she pretends to be.
• Filmed in Canada (view all.)
• 1 nomination (view all.)
• When Kate is writing and playing music on her piano, she is actually composing a suite for Max and Jessica. This scene was originally longer, and Vera Farmiga, herself a skilled pianist, was reportedly furious at director Jaume Collet-Serra for editing it down. She hoped the full scene would be included on the DVD (it isn’t).
• Vera Farmiga said that the film was appealing in so many ways, but largely because she got “a pay cheque, for once”, and because she wanted to work with Peter Sarsgaard.
• Isabelle Fuhrman developed an interest in knitting from watching Vera Farmiga pass time on knitting projects during breaks in filming.
• Warner Bros. edited the movie’s trailer to remove Esther’s line “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own” after receiving numerous complaints from adoptive parents and foster care organizations. The line remains in the movie itself.
• The photo of the Saarne Institute is actually of Alma College in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. The building was destroyed by fire on May 28, 2008.
• The movie was originally written to take place during the fall, and some exterior shots were filmed to establish this. Shortly before principal photography was set to begin in December 2007, the Toronto locations were hit with near-record snowfall, forcing the change of setting to winter. One of the scenes written out as a result was a Halloween carnival at Daniel and Esther’s school.
• Esther was originally written as having fair skin, delicate features, and platinum blonde hair. Isabelle Fuhrman doesn’t fit this description. However, the filmmakers were so impressed with her auditions that they cast her anyway.
• Isabelle Fuhrman auditioned for the part of Esther while wearing an old-fashioned dress and ribbons around her wrists and neck.