THE OTHERS
There are many spiritual issues raised in this film. Is belief in Christ something worth dying for? What happens when you die? Will praying help you to overcome fear?
Review by BETTY HAMM

THE OTHERS
(2001)


This page was created on August 10, 2001
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Directed by Alejandro Amen?bar
Written by Alejandro Amen?bar

Nicole Kidman .... Grace
Christopher Eccleston .... Charles
Fionnula Flanagan .... Mrs. Mills
Elaine Cassidy .... Lydia
Eric Sykes .... Mr. Tuttle
Alakina Mann .... Anne
James Bentley .... Nicholas
Ren?e Asherson .... Old woman
Michelle Fairley .... Mrs. Marlish
Gordon Reid .... Assistant

Produced by Fernando Bovaira (producer), Tom Cruise (executive producer), Jos? Luis Cuerda (producer), Rick Schwartz (executive producer), Park Sunmin (producer), Paula Wagner (executive producer), Bob Weinstein (executive producer), Harvey Weinstein (executive producer)
Original music by Alejandro Amen?bar
Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and frightening moments.

Trailer
RealVideo low bandwidth
QuickTime 33 MB 12 MB 6 MB


The Others:
Original Motion Picture Score
Alejandro Amenabar

Sooner Or Later They Will Find You.

SYNOPSIS:
Click to enlargeOn the secluded Isle of Jersey in the final days of World War II, a young woman waits in vain for her beloved husband to return from the front. Grace (Nicole Kidman) has been raising her two young children alone in her beautiful, cavernous Victorian mansion, the one place she believes them to be safe.

But they are not safe. Not anymore.

When a new trio of servants arrives to replace the crew that inexplicably disappeared, startling events begin to unfold. Grace's daughter reveals she has been seeing and talking with unexplained apparitions that come and go in every room of the house. At first, Grace refuses to believe in her children's scary sightings, but soon, she too begins to sense an intruder is at large.

Who is there? And what do they want from Grace's family? In order to find out, Grace must abandon everything in which she believes and enter the otherworldly heart of the supernatural.

THE OTHERS is a chilling tale of subtle psychological terror that gets under the skin and lingers for some time. A brilliantly crafted supernatural thriller, THE OTHERS begs the question of whom to trust, what to fear and what to believe, then topples every assumption. Crafted with a romantic, moody eeriness, the film is the American debut of young Spanish director Alejandro Amen?bar ("Open Your Eyes") and also stars Christopher Eccleston. Eric Sykes, Elaine Cassidy and Fionnula Flanagan co-star as the enigmatic new servants. James Bentley and Alakina Mann star as Kidman's children?for whom she will do anything to keep them from harm.

Review by BETTY HAMM
bhamm@efcn.org

Movie Reviewer, Arts Director


Betty is happily married and serves as the Arts Director at the Evangelical Free Church. She occasionally has a Chic Flic Night at her home (see Fried Green Tomatoes). She has an active interest in film.
In an attempt to create a film similar to the well-written suspense-filled thrill of ?The Sixth Sense?, Alejandro Amenabar brings us ?The Others.? I believe it falls well short of ?The Sixth Sense.? Although the mood was very tense and the plot complicated, it lacked the pull that the characters of The Sixth Sense gave. Personally, I never really cared if Nicole Kidman ever figured out what was going on. Actually, both my husband and I guessed the plot much sooner than we would have liked. I like being stumped, but this scripted lacked the mental intrigue I enjoyed.

The question that always comes to my mind when a ?scary? movie is released is ?Why do people enjoy them?? I had a woman sitting next to me during ?The Others.? She announced when she came into the theatre (which was pretty much sold out by the way) that she hoped people don?t mind her screams. I asked her if she had seen ?What Lies Beneath.? She said she had started it, but had to wait until her husband got home to watch the rest of it. Interesting. So, at the end of the film I asked her why she goes to scary movies if she doesn't like them. She responded "Oh no. I love scary movies." Perhaps in a sense it is our attempt to face our greatest fears. I mean the reoccurring theme in the scary or horror film is unleashed, uncontrolled evil and the hero fighting for good or just plain fighting for his life. Perhaps we feel we will be better prepared if we watch someone else fail or succeed in this battle. Perhaps if we laugh at death or evil or hell it becomes less of a threat or even a non-issue.

There are many spiritual issues raised in this film. Is belief in Christ something worth dying for? What happens when you die? Will praying help you to overcome fear?

The children are reading through a book on Catholic martyrs. They find it amusing that two of the martyrs were willing to be beheaded rather than deny Christ. Their feeling was deny Christ, save your life, and go on believing in Christ quietly in your heart. However, the Bible does not treat faith in Christ lightly. Jesus said in Matthew: "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before others, I will also confess that one before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before others, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." When Jesus tells us to ?take up our cross and follow Him? it is not only a call to discipleship, but also a call to persecution. When we believe, it is a putting of our entire trust in the hands of Christ. Either He is worthy of that trust or He is not. Either He is worthy of following to death or not. There is no middle ground with Christ.

What happens when you die? Paul wrote that to be absent from the body was to be present with Christ. He knew at the time that he would soon be facing his own death. The political tide was rushing him toward execution. And yet Paul faced his death encouraging others to follow Christ. How can someone have such confidence in what was going to happen to him when he died? The teachings of Christ are interesting in that you must either believe all that Jesus said or none. Either He is the son of God or He is a madman. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and will argue from that perspective. As the Son of God, Jesus came from heaven. Therefore He is an authority on what heaven is like and how we can get there. Jesus tells us that His Father has a mansion in heaven with many rooms and that He (Jesus) is preparing a room for us. So believers have a home waiting for them in heaven. When Jesus was on the cross, He told the thief that professed faith in Him ?Today you will be with Me in paradise.? So a believer goes to heaven immediately upon death. The Bible is full of pictures of both heaven and hell. Both places are portrayed as real not symbolic places. Heaven is beautiful, filled with God?s glory, believers together in glorified bodies and able to recognize each other and Jesus. The streets and gates are described as very exotic, beautiful and richly decorated. Hell on the other hand is a place separated from God. A place of no second chances. A place of eternal torment, crying and horror. A place created for Satan but will also be filled with fallen angels and those that refuse the gift of life that Jesus offers.
Will praying eliminate fear? The mother tells the son to pray his rosary. Will going through religious rituals bring Christ closer? When we read the New Testament, the people that Jesus was the hardest on were the priests. These were men that had devoted their lives to following the religious rules. And yet Christ refers to them as whitewashed tombs - they looked good on the outside but were dead and decaying on the inside. That is very harsh. Jesus promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Those that have asked Christ for forgiveness and have asked Him for eternal life enter into an ever-lasting relationship of faith with Christ. He will be close when we are afraid. He will give guidance and encouragement and protection.
My faith tells me that Christ is worth risking it all: my life, my health, my family, my job - everything. Eternity is a very long time. Life on earth is short and unpredictable. Placing my life in Jesus' hands today ensures that I will be with Him forever no matter what. That does not mean that everything is perfect. I will face the same struggles, fears, troubles and eventually death. The difference is that I will face them with the knowledge that my God loves me and will always be with me and that makes all the difference.

I did not enjoy ?The Others.? There are several reasons for this. Beyond this point will be spoiler information, because I do not know how to address the issues without giving away the plot.

1. I have no trouble watching a film that I will totally disagree with spiritually. For example, I really enjoyed ?What Dreams May Come? even though I believe it portrayed a totally erroneous view of life after death. However, when a movie portrays life after death, or a battle between good and evil or the spirit world and they go out of their way to belittle Judeo/Christian beliefs? that?s when I have a problem. For example, I did not like Tim Burton?s ?Sleepy Hollow? even though it was a beautifully filmed movie, it offended my faith. ?The Others? makes a point of showing a woman of strong Catholic faith in a very poor light. It shows that her unwavering belief in the Bible and the teachings of her church as foolish and eventually filled with errors. Not only is her belief in what happens when you die shown to be false, her children are shown as much wiser as they make fun of the church?s teachings.

2. Some topics in my opinion are so horrific that when they are handled in an artistic format they should be done so with great wisdom and care. I am not of the school that believes anything goes in art. This woman killed her children by smothering them with a pillow. She went mad in her grief over the loss of her husband, killed her children and then herself. In the movie?s defense, I think the director tried to show sympathy for the mother and explain how such a thing could happen. But I believe it was done poorly. In light of the similar deaths that have happened in reality, I thought this was in poor taste.

3. The ending. No hope. No joy. No future. This family is trapped for eternity in this house regardless of how they lived, regardless of their faith. Well that stinks.

?The Others? is not a film that will make my recommended list. However, it does show me through the sold out audiences that people are questioning life and death. Those of us who know the truth need to be ready to share it.
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SCIENTOLOGY
Subject: The Others
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001
From: "Greg Estes"

I found The Others entertaining and interesting however I think the maker of this film had an agenda. It's no coincidence that it was produced by Tom Cruise, a known supporter of Scientology, with his wife (at the time) Nicole Kidman, also of Scientology faith, in a leading role.

After watching the movie I felt that a religion had been introduced to me and not being an expert on Scientology, I looked up information on it and found some interesting themes that were in the movie such as reincarnation and an over all theme that we are God of our lives. The movie made not so subtle criticisms of the Catholic faith while promoting Scientology to the point that it was almost an advertisement to visit your local church of Scientology. I encourage viewers of this movie to read about that religion and you will see it in the work of Tom Cruise.

As I said, I enjoyed the movie and in no way am I saying don't see it, but just pointing out that you may want to think about what you are seeing and why. It helped open my eyes to this growing religion and how to recognize those themes in movies. By the way, I am not a Scientologist nor Catholic.
Greg

Response: Thanks for your input. There is nothing in the film that promotes Scientology at all. The film is not about reincarnation, nor any other doctrine of Scientology. The film is about crsis of faith and coming to terms with experiences that run counter to our belief system. -David

SOME THOUGHTS
Subject: The_Others
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001
From: AL

I ENJOYED BETTY HAMM'S THOUGHTFUL ANALYSIS OF "THE OTHERS". I DID TAKE ISSUE WITH SOME OF HER INSIGHTS, BUT OVERALL I GAVE THE MOVIE A GRADE OF "B".

I ENJOY HORROR MOVIES FOR MANY OF THE REASONS CITED IN THE REVIEW. MOST HORROR MOVIES TURN INTO GORE-FESTS VERY QUICKLY AND HAVE LITTLE DEPTH BESIDES SHOCK VALUE. "THE SIXTH SENSE" WAS A RECENT EXAMPLE THAT WAS NOT GORY, BUT INTELLIGENT AND THOUGHTFUL. COMPARING RECENT MOVIES WITH "THE SIXTH SENSE" IS LIKE COMPARING A VAN GOGH PAINTING WITH A FIRST GRADER'S CRAYON DRAWING.

I ALSO ENJOY SEEING OTHER PEOPLE'S VISION OF THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS. THE BIBLE HAS SOME GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS ABOUT THE SPIRITUAL WORLD: IN II KINGS 6 ELISHA PRAYS FOR HIS SERVANTS TO SEE THE FIERY HORSES AND CHARIOTS THAT ARE SURROUNDING THE VALLEY AND ARE READY TO BATTLE THE KING OF ARAM. IN DANIEL 10, AN ANGEL APPEARS TO DANIEL BEFORE HIS APOCALYPTIC VISIONS AND TELLS HIM THE KINGS OF PERSIA HAD OCCUPIED HIM FOR 21 DAYS AND NEEDED ONE OF THE CHIEF PRINCES TO COME BAIL HIM OUT. WOW! HOLLYWOOD CAN'T EVEN TOUCH STORIES LIKE THESE! WHAT ARE THESE FIERY HORSES AND CHARIOTS? HOW DO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS ENGAGE AND OCCUPY THESE SPIRITUAL BEINGS? HOW DOES THE SPIRIT WORLD OPERATE? IF YOU ARE PRESENT WITH CHRIST AFTER DEATH AND CHRIST IS PRESENT WITH THOSE WHO ARE ALIVE, DOES THE SPIRIT WORLD OPERATE ON A LEVEL THAT THOSE OF US WHO ARE ALIVE ARE COGNIZANT OF?

I DID AGREE WITH BETTY HAMM'S ANALYSIS OF THE ENDING OF THE MOVIE. NO HOPE, NO JOY AND A FUTURE STUCK ON A BRITISH ISLAND FOR ETERNITY. IT WAS A STINKER. I WAS NOT FAMILIAR ENOUGH WITH CATHOLIC THEOLOGY TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE ENDING. WERE THEY IN SOME KIND OF HALF-WAY HOUSE TO HEAVEN OR HELL? OR SOME OTHER POINT WHERE THEY COULD WORK THEIR WAY TO HEAVEN?

THE OTHERS
Subject: the others
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001
From: heidi

Nicole Kidman did a great job in this show. The little girl who played in the show was good too- she seemed like such a little prankster!- One of my favorite movies of all time was far and away- but she did a movie a long time ago (I can't remember the name) where her husband was dying of cancer and she was awful. I was hoping that she would do well in this movie and that it wouldn't be anything like that movie. She really does well in movies where strong women are. I think so anyway. She really did a wonderful job in this movie, and what an ending!!! It has always seemed to me that the line between the living and the dead is a very thin line, and this show seemed to portray that.You never even see the end coming- It reminds me of the sixth sense, in the way it ended anyway.good show!
heidi

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