Making the Grades
During the last days of World War II, Grace (Nicole Kidman), the young mother of school aged Anne (Alakina Mann) and younger Nicholas (James Bentley), patiently awaits the return of her husband from the front lines--even though she has not heard from him in over a year. Making matters worse, both of her children suffer from a disease that makes them unable to withstand any bright light. Thus the family dwells in their rambling old mansion on the mist drenched Isle of Jersey with the curtains drawn and the children always behind a locked door for fear light may inadvertently enter the room.
After her hired help suddenly leaves, Grace is even more distraught and her dependent children make it difficult to seek outside assistance. When three people come bidding her to employ them as servants, Grace happily accepts the offer of housekeeper Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), along with a gardener and mute nanny. But no sooner does she have this problem solved, when Anne begins insisting she is seeing other people in the house. At first disbelieving the child, Grace begins hearing strange noises too, and determines to discover the source of the intrusion.
Foggy nights, squeaky doors, suspenseful music, and mysteriously playing pianos are only a few of the typical techniques used within this horror film. Yet even with its reliance on old tricks to create fear, Alejandro Amen0xE1bar, the movie's 28-year-old writer/director manages to supply a story that keeps viewers in the dark (in more ways than one) until the closing scene.
The hallmark of any good thriller, this movie works within your imagination rather than by shocking you with gore on the screen. Other than a few unexpected surprises, some photographs of dead people, and talk of a murder/suicide, there are virtually no other content concerns. Yet the overall theme is probably too intense for pre-teens. As well, if religious beliefs leave you uncomfortable with depictions of ghosts, seances, or disturbing portrayals of life after death, definitely leave The Others alone.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Others.
This movie begs to have parents share their beliefs about what happens when we die, with their children. Discussion points may also include why “ghosts” are often shown in frightening ways in movies.
Although filmed in Spain (the home country of writer/director Alejandro Amenabar), The Others is set on the Isle of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands between England and France, and the only piece of British territory to be occupied by the Nazi’s during World War II. Read more about this fascinating island—now a major Northern European tourist destination—by visiting www.jersey.co.uk. An especially interesting page explains the history of the German Underground Hospital, one of many physical reminders of the war.