Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Others

directed by Alejandro Amenabar

The Others poster  
Nicole Kidman plays Grace, a woman living in a large country house in Jersey in 1945. After she advertises for new servants three people arrive to fill the vacancies. But it's not an easy house to work in, because Grace's two children, Nicholas (James Bentley) and Anne (Alakina Mann) are hypersensitive to light. Any strong light causes them to come out in blisters, and can kill them.

Grace is a strict mother with strong religious beliefs, and she expects high standards of behaviour and honesty from her children. She tries to run a tight ship. All the doors are locked and curtains are always closed in the rooms where the children are. Almost everything takes place in a spooky half-light that only gets more intense when a thick mist descends around the house.

Things take a sinister turn when Anne starts to see ghosts, although her mother berates her for making things up. Curtains and doors are left open, and strange noises are heard. The disturbances continue, and it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Grace feels very cut off from the rest of the world, and this feeling is made worse because her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) is away at war. There has been no news of him, and Grace is faced with the awful possibility that he is dead.

In the isolation of the big old house Grace struggles to keep hold of her sanity in the face of supernatural incursions, grief, and the need to protect her children. As the kindly housekeeper who knows more than she lets on, Mrs Mills (Fionnula Flanagan) offers the perfect counterpoint to Grace's highly-strung anxiety.

The Others is a tense, beautifully atmospheric story that's been very carefully plotted. It's as much a tear-jerker as it is a supernatural thriller. Although fairly short, it's loaded with quiet suspense. With an unexpected yet brilliantly set up ending, this makes for a compelling and well-paced ghost story.

Film Details

Year: 2001

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

The Waiting Room cover    

The Waiting Room by F. G. Cottam
For TV ghost hunter Julian Creed spectres of the past turn out to be more dangerous than he thought possible.

Crossing the Meadow cover    

Crossing the Meadow by Kfir Luzzatto
Kfir Luzzatto takes an intimate look at the world of ghosts.

4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson