I don't know what is more shocking to me; the fact that I saw another Nicole Kidman movie, the fact that I liked it, or the fact that I think she did a great job. Either way, I recommend seeing this film. "The Others" is a suspense/supernatural thriller set in stately manor in post WWII England where devoted wife and mother Grace (Nicole Kidman) awaits the return of her husband who was called off to the war. She has two children with a rather unique condition, as they cannot be exposed, even in moderation, to bright light of any kind. Especially lethal is sunlight, which is blocked out by large draperies hanging in the dozens of rooms throughout the mansion. The servants who seek work at the home are forewarned about opening one door without closing another door and that all rooms they enter must have the curtains drawn. This shouldn't be a problem except there is a person, or presence, in the home that leaves the doors open and makes noises; breaking the much-coveted silence in the home. The servants are harshly and initially blamed but later Grace notices that these occurrences are taking place independent of the staff member's actions. Further puzzling to her are her children's visions of a child whom they claim inhabits the house with his family. The son, Nicholas (James Bentley), is frightened and the daughter, Anne (Alakina Mann) who is intrigued, is severely dissuaded against perpetuating these stories.
What is equally suspicious is the service staff's behavior and ulterior motives, which slowly become obvious as the story unfolds. You see that they are trying to hide, yet at the same time reveal something to Grace, but it is almost as if they think that she can't handle the truth, which when she sees it, will have a massive impact.
I won't go further with anymore of the story as it will spoil the surprise ending. If there was a movie that paralleled or mirrored the suspense and thrill of "The Sixth Sense", this is the one. There are hints and clues throughout the film, but you still don't expect it to turn out the way it does....or perhaps you might. However, this movie keeps a constant tension until the very end, and doesn't at all lag. Each scene builds on the next and even though some seem not to connect with the others, it all ties together in the end. (Think of "Pulp Fiction's plot coming full circle in the final scene.)
What I have to remark upon is the solid, riveting performance of Nicole Kidman. Her character contained a plethora of duality in every aspect. From minute to minute her demeanor and constitution changed. She went from being a strong, formidable woman at one point to a scared, fragile child the next. One scene she was the stern disciplinarian home schooling her children, and a few scenes later the doting, over protective mother. She progressed between one facet to another with unflawed effort. This is a true testament to her acting ability and versatility as an actress. It is rare that you see an actress transform from scene to scene with such consistency. More aspects of her character are discussed in the director's comments featured on the DVD, which I highly recommend. Additionally discussed are the remarkable features of the movie, which primarily featured the same setting and staple characters throughout the majority of the film. This was neither monotonous nor boring and gave the viewer the much-needed perspective of being encased in the same little world as Grace and the children are.
Once again, let me reiterate my astonishment and pleasure of this film. It is a simple film with few special effects. The story and those executing it carry the bulk of the weight. There are a few minor flaws, most irritating to me was the volume being inconsistent. The characters seemed to whisper or talk softly in many of the scenes and I guess the director didn't see fit to adjust the boom. There are also a couple scenes that either take too long or just have little purpose, but saving those and a couple others, they are little more than technical blemishes. See this movie at least once, and if you don't quite get it, or even if you do, see it again. Take a bow Nicole, you've definitely earned it.
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: A-
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:
A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV
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