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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie doesn't have any bad language or gory images, but it's genuinely creepy and may be upsetting even for older children. Some will be concerned over Anne's questioning of her mother's religious principles or disturbed by the implications of the final explanation.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
THE OTHERS centers around Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two children, who live in a huge old home on an isolated British island. World War II has ended, but she still hasn't heard from her husband and is trying not to let herself fear that he may be dead. Her two children have a genetic photo-sensitivity and break out in welts if they are exposed to any light stronger than a candle. The servants all left mysteriously, so they are there alone when three new servants show up, explaining that they worked at the house once years before and were happy there, so they have returned. Their arrival is unsettling, but not as unsettling as evidence of "intruders," including sightings by Grace's daughter Anne. Grace does her best to hold everything together, to protect the children's souls (she is deeply religious). She also has an elaborate system of keys to make sure that all doors are locked and all curtains drawn, to keep out light, as she says, the way a ship is designed to keep out water.
Is it any good?
This movie is more mood than plot, but the mood is expertly handled by the writer/director and by Kidman, who makes her attempts to maintain control scarier than outright terror. The cast is outstanding and the ultimate resolution properly eerie.
Way back before computer graphics, moviemakers knew how to scare us through what the movie didn't show us. They knew that no one knows what scares us as well as we do ourselves, and that anything we could imagine would be far scarier than anything they could put on the screen. The Others is a return to that kind of old-fashioned-squeaky door hinge-flapping shutter -- "Who is that playing Chopin downstairs when I know I locked the piano?" -- "She can't leave now! It's too foggy!" sort of thriller, the kind that creeps into your bones and makes you shiver.
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