DO YOU believe in things you do not see? Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others poses this intriguing question.

Nicole Kidman, plays a mother forced to become the man-of-the-house. Living with her two children in an isolated mansion, she waits for her husband Charles, played by Christopher Eccleston, to return from World War II.

As her children suffer from photosensitivity, a fatal disorder that prohibits them from extensive light exposure, Grace keeps them in darkness inside their house with only candles as light. Her eldest daughter, Anne (Alakina Mann) claims of seeing “other people” in the house, much to her younger brother, Nicholas’ (James Bentley) consternation and Grace’s temper.

Grace hires three servants to help them in the house. An old woman, Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan) stands as the children’s nanny, while Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes) works as a gardener. The mute Lydia (Elaine Cassidy), on the other hand, helps in the household chores.

Grace soon finds out that they are not alone in the house.

The Others is a psychological thriller that raises a lot of questions on the Christian belief on life after death. Grace is a picture of a quintessential housewife and a devout Christian. The twist of the plot in the end leaves the audience puzzled, if not, mesmerized.

There are unclear elements in the film such as the ability of the spirits to touch and move objects. They can even taste food and feel pain.

Nevertheless, the dialogues between the secretive Mrs. Mills and Mr. Tuttle, the reason behind Lydia’s sudden muteness, and the visions of Anne justify the ending.

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Altogether, the ironies in the film are successfully hemmed into one beautiful conundrum. With the superb acting of his cast, Amenabar’s ingenuity is realized. The audience could almost feel the terror, anguish, anger, and compassion of Grace through Kidman’s convincing and adept portrayal. Likewise, Mann truly shows Anne’s defiant character in stark contrast with Nicholas’ feeble personality, through Bentley’s effortless performance.

The film also succeeds because of its sound and scoring that create a horrifying and grave atmosphere that envelops almost every scene. Frances Margaret H. Arreza

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