The Others (2001 film)

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The Others
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Produced by Fernando Bovaira
José Luis Cuerda
Sunmin Park
Written by Alejandro Amenábar
Starring Nicole Kidman
Fionnula Flanagan
Christopher Eccleston
Elaine Cassidy
Eric Sykes
Alakina Mann
James Bentley
Music by Alejandro Amenábar
Cinematography Javier Aguirresarobe
Edited by Nacho Ruiz Capillas
Dimension Films
Cruise/Wagner Productions
Las Producciones del Escorpion
Distributed by Miramax Films (US)
Warner Bros. (Spain)
Release dates
  • August 10, 2001 (2001-08-10) (US)
  • September 7, 2001 (2001-09-07) (Spain)
Running time
104 minutes
Country Spain
United States[1][2][3]
Language English
Budget $17 million
Box office $218,947,037

The Others (Spanish: Los Otros) is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan.

It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for Best Film and Best Director. This was the first English-language film ever to receive the Best Film Award at the Goyas (Spain's national film awards), without a single word of Spanish spoken in it. The Others was nominated for six Saturn Awards including Best Director and Best Writing for Amenábar and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Alakina Mann,[4] and won three: Best Horror Film, Best Actress for Kidman and Best Supporting Actress for Fionnula Flanagan. Kidman was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Drama and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, with Amenábar being nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, a rare occurrence for a horror film.


Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) is a devout Roman Catholic mother who lives with her two small children in a remote country house in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey, in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), have an uncommon disease, characterized by photosensitivity, so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight. Grace herself suffers from migraine attacks. The arrival of three servants at the house — an aging nanny and servant named Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), an elderly gardener named Mr. Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and a mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) — coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear they are not alone.

Anne draws pictures of four people: a man, a woman, a boy called Victor, and an old woman, all of whom she says she has seen in the house. A piano is heard from inside a locked, empty room. Grace finds and examines a 19th-century "book of the dead," an album of mourning portrait photos of recently deceased family members. Doors which Grace believes to have been closed and locked are found mysteriously ajar. She tries hunting down the "intruders" with a shotgun but cannot find them. She scolds her daughter for believing in ghosts — until she hears them herself. Eventually, convincing herself that something unholy is in the house, she runs out in the fog to get the local priest to bless the house. Meanwhile, the servants, led by Mrs. Mills, are clearly up to something of their own. The gardener buries a headstone under autumn leaves, and Mrs. Mills listens faithfully to Anne's allegations against her mother.

Outside, Grace loses herself in the heavy fog, but miraculously discovers her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston), whom she thought had been killed in the war, and brings him back to the house. Charles is distant during the one day he spends there, and Mrs. Mills is heard telling Mr. Tuttle, "I do not think he knows where he is." Grace later sees an old woman dressed up like her daughter. Grace says, "You are not my daughter!" and attacks her. However, she finds that she has actually attacked her daughter instead. Grace swears she saw the old woman, but Anne refuses to be near her mother afterwards. Mrs. Mills tells Anne that she too has seen the people, but they cannot yet tell Grace because she will not accept what she is not ready for. Charles is stunned when Anne tells him the things her mother did to her. He says he must leave for the front and disappears again. After Charles leaves, Anne continues to see things, including Victor's whole family and the old woman.

Grace breaks down to Mrs. Mills, who claims that "sometimes the world of the dead gets mixed up with the world of the living." One morning, Grace wakes to the children's screams: All of the curtains in the house have disappeared, as Anne had said they might. When Grace finds out the servants aren't alarmed by the mysterious disappearance of the curtains, Grace realizes that they are somehow involved. Hiding the children from the light, she banishes the servants from the house. A series of loud noises from the house's upper floor follows this event. That night, Anne and Nicholas sneak out of the house to find their father, and stumble across the hidden graves, which they realize belong to the servants. At the same time, Grace goes to the servants' quarters and finds a photograph from the book of the dead and is horrified to see it is of the three servants. The servants appear and follow the children, who make it back to the house just as Grace emerges to hold off the servants with a shotgun.

The servants reveal that they died of tuberculosis more than 50 years before. The children run upstairs and hide, but they are found by the strange old woman. Downstairs, the servants tell Grace that the living and the dead must learn to exist together. "There's nothing more we can do," they say, "Now you must go upstairs and talk to them." Trembling with fear, Grace walks upstairs, holding her crucifix and reciting the Lord's Prayer. When she enters the upstairs room, she, Anne and Nicholas discover the old woman is acting as a medium in a séance with Victor's parents. It is then they learn the truth: Anne, Nicholas and Grace are themselves ghosts; Grace is believed to have killed the children in a fit of psychosis before taking her own life. In a frenzy of denial, Grace shakes the séance table, and rips up the sheets of paper on the table and throws them into the air. However, the visitors see only the table shaking and the paper being ripped and scattered.

As Grace and the children huddle together in shock, her memories return to her: Stricken with grief for her missing husband and increasingly frustrated by their isolation, Grace went insane and smothered her children with a pillow. Then, realizing what she had done, she put a rifle to her forehead and pulled the trigger. When she then "awoke" and heard her children's laughter, she assumed God had granted her family a miracle, a second chance at life.

Mrs. Mills appears and tells Grace that they will learn to get along with the "intruders" who periodically come to the house. "Sometimes we'll notice them," she says, "and sometimes we won't. That's how it's always been." The children find they are no longer sensitive to light (as they are no longer living), and for the first time they can enjoy the sunlight coming through the windows. The living occupants, unable to rid the house of its former occupants' spirits, drive away as Grace and the children watch from an upstairs window. The last scene shows a man closing the great gate to the property, to which he has attached a FOR SALE sign.


Box office[edit]

The Others was released August 10, 2001 in 1,678 theaters in the United States and Canada and grossed $14 million its opening weekend, ranking fourth at the box office. It stayed in fourth for three more weeks, expanding to more theaters. During the weekend of September 21–23, it was second at the box office, grossing $5 million in 2,801 theaters.[5] The film, which cost $17 million to produce, eventually grossed $96.5 million in the United States and Canada and $113.4 million in other countries, for a worldwide total gross of $218.9 million.[6]

Filming locations[edit]

The production crew visited Penshurst Place in Kent to film at the Lime Walk in the gardens. The Lime Walk was used in the scene where Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) went looking for a priest in the thick fog and instead met her husband who had returned from the war.[7] Filming locations are among other spots Las Fraguas, Cantabria, northern (Spain) and in Madrid.

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 148 reviews.[8] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 29 reviews.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars out of four, praising that "...Alejandro Amenábar has the patience to create a languorous, dreamy atmosphere, and Nicole Kidman succeeds in convincing us that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric". However, he noted that "in drawing out his effects, Amenábar is a little too confident that style can substitute for substance."[10]

William Skidelsky of The Observer has suggested that it was inspired by the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.[11]


In pop culture[edit]

  • Scary Movie 3 includes parodies of scenes from the film, particularly the famous "I am your daughter" sequence.
  • Hum Kaun Hai is a Hindi remake of The Others
  • Spanish Movie is a parody movie that spoofs several successful Spanish horror/drama films, primarily The Others but also The Orphanage, Pan's Labyrinth, REC, and others.
  • Australian Band Elora Danan wrote a song about the film called "Thank God for Their Growth in Faith and Love" (a line seen on the children's blackboard in a later scene) which was a track on their debut EP We All Have Secrets.
  • Electronic music artist Venetian Snares uses a sample from the film in the song "Children's Limbo" on the album Find Candace.
  • The 25th Simpsons Halloween episode includes a segment spoofing the film in which the Simpsons are haunted by their former selves from The Tracey Ullman Show.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]