The Others (2001 film)

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The Others
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Produced by Fernando Bovaira
José Luis Cuerda
Tom Cruise
Paula Wagner
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
Las Producciones del Escorpion
Cruise/Wagner Productions
Distributed by Dimension Films (US)
Warner Bros. (Spain)
Release dates
  • August 10, 2001 (2001-08-10) (US)
  • September 7, 2001 (2001-09-07) (Spain)
  • November 2, 2001 (2001-11-02) (UK)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
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, starring Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. William Skidelsky of The Observer has suggested that it is inspired by the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.[1]

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,[2] 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, xeroderma pigmentosum, characterized by photosensitivity, so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules designed to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight; Grace herself suffers from migraine attacks. The new 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 young mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) — coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear that 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 room when no one is inside. Grace finds and examines a "book of the dead," which shows mourning portraits taken in the 19th century of recently deceased corpses. Doors which Grace believes to have been closed are found mysteriously ajar. Grace 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 she miraculously discovers her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston), who she thought had been killed in the war, and brings him back to the house. Charles is distant during the one day he spends in the house, 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. Anne refuses to be near her mother afterwards, while Grace swears she saw the old woman. Mrs. Mills tells Anne that she too has seen the people, but they cannot yet tell the mother because Grace 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 the servants refuse to help look for them, 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 upper storey of the house follows this event. That night, Anne and Nicholas sneak out of the house to find their father and stumble across the hidden graves. They find that the graves 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 that it is of the three servants. The servants appear and follow after the children, who make it back into the house just as Grace emerges to hold off the servants with a shotgun.

They then say that they had died of tuberculosis more than 50 years before. The children run upstairs and hide, but are found by the strange old woman. Downstairs, the servants continue talking to Grace, telling her that the living and the dead have to learn to exist together. Upstairs, Anne and Nicholas discover the old woman is acting as a medium in a séance with Victor's parents. It is then that they learn the truth: the real ghosts are none other than Anne, Nicholas, and their mother, who is believed to have killed them in a fit of psychosis before committing suicide. Grace loses her temper and supernaturally attacks the visitors by ripping and throwing pieces of paper on the table. However, the visitors are only able to see the paper ripping of its own accord, further confirming Grace and her children are indeed the ghosts. The truth finally clear to Grace, she breaks down with the children and remembers what happened just before the arrival of their new servants.

Stricken with grief for her missing husband and increasingly frustrated by living in isolation, she went insane, smothered her children with a pillow, and then, in shock after realizing what she had done, put a rifle to her forehead and pulled the trigger. When nothing happened and upon hearing the laughter of Nicholas and Anne, Grace assumed that God had granted her family a miracle by offering them a second chance at life. Grace and the children realize that Charles is also dead, but he is not aware of it. Mrs. Mills appears and informs Grace that they will learn to get along, and sometimes won't even notice the living people who inhabit their house. Since the children no longer have their mortal bodies, they are no longer sensitive to light, and for the first time the children freely enjoy the sunlight coming through the windows. The occupants, unable to rid the house of Grace and the children, drive away with Grace's ghost watching from an upstairs window. The sign on the gate says the house is for sale.


Box office[edit]

The film 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.[3] 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.[4]

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. [5]

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 148 reviews.[6] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 29 reviews.[7] 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."[8]


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 - 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]


  1. ^ Skidelsky, Will. "Classics corner: The Turn of the Screw," The Observer (29 May 2010).
  2. ^ The MovieWeb Team (June 13, 2002). "The 2001 Saturn Awards". MovieWeb. 
  3. ^ "The Others (2001) - Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  4. ^ "The Others (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  5. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Others Film Focus". 
  6. ^ "The Others - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  7. ^ "Others, The (2001): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  8. ^ "The Others (2001)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 

External links[edit]