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YMMV / Orphan

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  • Paranoia Fuel: This film raises the point that you never really know the full truth of who you are adopting, and they could be a psychopath.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Rooting for the Empire: It's easy to root for Esther despite the fact she's batshit insane because A) She's a great villain and B) Isabelle Fuhrman's performance. Not to mention most of the protagonists (except for Max) come off as whiny and annoying.
  • The Scrappy: John's stupidity, blind trusting of Esther, the revelation that he cheated on Kate after the stillbirth of their child, and myopia towards all the horrible events that had been occurring since she was adopted made him fairly unlikable to the viewers. That's why his brutal death comes and goes without much thought, and the rest of the film is dedicated to showing the much more charismatic Max attempting to survive Esther's rampage.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Esther's killing of the bird is supposed to be evil and heinous, but her correctly claiming that the bird's fate is Daniel's responsibility and that it's suffering and should be put out of its misery make it come off as cold but correct Shoot the Dog.
  • Squick:
    • Esther, who is portrayed by an 11-year old, tries to seduce John in a sexually provocative cocktail dress.
    • Esther breaking her own arm, especially as the bone very visibly pops out. The fact that it's the only scene where she shows any real weakness or pain somehow makes it worse.
    • The entirety of Kate's Nightmare Sequence, if not helped by the completely sickening notion of witnessing a fetus removal from a woman's body.
    • This film's use of black lights. They reveal terrifying and disgusting, gruesome paintings, as well as sexually explicit paintings of John and Esther.
    • Sister Abigail's murder. When the police find her body, her face has been reduced to mush.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Katie does give up on trying to convince John that there is something wrong with Esther and say if he wants her to leave that's fine but only on one condition that Esther goes too which is pretty much satisfying.
  • The Woobie:
    • Kate, who has just lost her baby, is mentally abused by her adoptive daughter for the length of the film and is hospitalized when her (perfectly justified) paranoia causes her to assault Esther in public.
    • Max has it worse. She is a 5-year old mute child who witnesses her new adoptive sister brutally murder an innocent nun and her own father, is almost killed herself in at least 4 separate occasions, sees her brother nearly burn to death and be suffocated, is chased by a psychopath into the woods and is forced to handle a firearm despite her young age. It's safe to say that the trauma from her childhood will haunt her for the rest of her life.