The Orphanage





Laura, and her physician husband Carlos, return to an orphanage where she had lived as a child, with plans of reopening it as a home for sick and disabled children. They adopted a son named Simón who is HIV-positive, though he is unaware of either his adoption or his illness. Upon moving into the hauntingly beautiful home, Simón becomes acquainted with six imaginary friends. Because Simón has always had imaginary friends, both Laura and Carlos play along with his stories. Laura takes Simón to visit a cave near the beach, and he claims to see an imaginary friend. After returning home, he draws a picture of him. He is named Tomás, and he wears a sack mask.

A mysterious social worker appears one day, talking obliquely of some new treatment for Simón. After inviting her in for tea, Laura becomes suspicious and sends her away. That night, after investigating some rattling noises she hears outside, Laura finds the mysterious social worker skulking around the grounds. Though Laura screams for Carlos' help, the woman escapes before anything else occurs. After reporting the incident, it is discovered that there is no social worker registered with the name Benigna...the plot thickens.

One day, Simón tells Laura about a game that Tomás has created for him, a type of scavenger hunt. The game leads them to the locked drawer where Simón's medical records are hidden. Simón reveals to Laura that he knows that she is not his real mother and that he is going to die. When she asks him how he knows that, he responds that his friends told him. Soon after, Laura hosts a party for the disabled children to welcome them to their new home. Simón begs to show Laura Tomás' house, but after an argument, Laura leaves Simón alone upstairs. When Laura returns to check on him, she cannot find him. She checks in the bathroom at the end of the hall, only to be confronted by a boy in a sack mask who she saw earlier at the party. After she tries to remove the boy's mask, he violently locks her in the bathroom and disappears. No one else at the party remembered seeing the boy because all the children were wearing masks. Simón cannot be found; he has simply disappeared without a trace.

Months later, Laura and her husband go for a drive. It is evident that both are still haunted by the loss of their son. Coincidentally, Laura sees Benigna crossing the street with a stroller, and she makes Carlos stop the car. However, in the tension of the moment, a speeding ambulance hits Benigna. Though Carlos attempts mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he says that the woman is dead. Laura reaches for the woman's whistle necklace, and in her dying breath the woman snatches Laura's hand away.

After searching the woman's home, the police discover that Benigna worked at the orphanage long ago. She had a deformed son named Tomás who drowned in the oceanfront cave near the orphanage. Though his face was hidden from the other orphans, they led him to a cave and took off his mask. They wanted to see if he would dare to come out without his mask; ashamed, he refused and drowned overnight once the tide rose. The desperate Laura then agrees to have a medium explore the orphanage for supernatural clues to her son's disappearance. The medium sees five child ghosts, screaming in pain and dying of poison. Soon after, Laura, following clues she believes were left by Tomás, finds five sacks full of ashes and human bones in the very shed that she caught Benigna snooping in. Laura surmises that the woman had murdered the five children, after their trick had killed Tomás.

Carlos does not believe in the supernatural; he thinks his wife has gone crazy and begs her to leave the orphanage, but she refuses. She insists that she must stay and explore every nook and cranny of the creepy house until it disgorges its secrets. Laura insists that there are too many memories in the house and she needs two days alone to say good-bye.

Carlos goes, leaving Laura alone in the house. After recreating her time in the house as a young girl, she sees the ghosts of the dead friends from her childhood, and they lead her to a hidden door in a closet. Behind the door are stairs leading to a dark basement, and at the bottom she finds Simón alive. However, when she wills the ghosts to go away, it turns out Simón was dead as well, having fallen down a broken banister on the stairwell the day he disappeared. In her frantic search for Simón, she'd unintentionally prevented his escape from the basement. She carries his body up and kills herself by overdosing on her medication.........









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Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Produced by Guillermo del Toro
Mar Targarona
Álvaro Agustín
Joaquín Padro
Written by Sergio G. Sánchez
Starring Belén Rueda
Geraldine Chaplin
Fernando Cayo
Mabel Rivera
Roger Príncep
Montserrat Carulla
Music by Fernando Velázquez
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) 11 October 2007
Running time 100 mins.
Language Spanish















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