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Me? I'm not the one who passed out drunk and let Max almost drown in the pond. If it wasn't for John, she'd be dead. And you'd probably still be in jail.
~ Esther/Leena to Kate Coleman.
Hello, My name is Esther!
~ Esther's famous catchphrase.
Esther Coleman (real name: Leena Klammer) is the main antagonist of the 2009 horror film Orphan. She is presumed to be a 9-year-old Russian girl who now has a foster family named The Colemans (Kate Coleman, John Coleman, Max Coleman, and Daniel Coleman). However, she is actually a 33-year-old Estonian woman and she has a hypo pituitary disorder that makes her look much younger than she actually is.
She was portrayed by Isabelle Fuhrman, who also played Clove in The Hunger Games.
Born as Leena Klammer in Estonia on April 20, 1976. She suffers from hypopituitarism, a form of dwarfism, which make her unable to grow and stuck in her child-like body, despite being a mature, older woman. Also, she has fully-developed breasts. There is little else known about her background. The original script treatment initially depicted Esther as slightly more sympathetic and tragic, yet still disturbing, as she had been repeatedly raped as a child by her own father for years, destroying any chance that Leena could ever have her own children and sexualizing her at a young age. The reason she was sent to the Saarne Mental Institution in the first place was because she killed her father and a new lover he took in after he told her she can never be "a real woman" due to her condition. After escaping from Saarne, she worked as a prostitute in Estonia for years, mostly catering to wealthy pedophiles. When she was arrested for this, she pretended to be a child prostitute to stay out of jail. The police did not investigate her true identity and she was sent to an orphanage. In the original treatment, it is also revealed that she was in fact disgusted with the fact that she resembled a child and wanted to be what her father considered to be a "real woman" to a man and have a family of her own. Because of this, she obsessively and delusionally tries to find "love" where she thought she'd had it as a child, with her new father. Most of this backstory was cut out in the final film, however, it does explain Leena's backstory for all those years.
In the final film, according to Dr. Värava from the Saarne Institute, an Estonian mental institution, she is a serial killer who has already murdered at least 7 people that they know of. For this, she was later caught and placed in the Saarne Institute. She is one of the most wild and violent patients, who would always hurt the staff employees, which eventually resulted in her being put in a straitjacket. However, she managed to free herself by fighting constantly to get out from it, but leaving scars around her neck and wrists in the process. After this, she escaped and used her child-like body to pretend to be a child named Esther, where she forged documents and created a new identity as a child. Because of this, she is never found and is later adopted by the Sullivans, an American family, afterwards. She tried to seduce her adopted father, but failed, as a result she killed the entire Sullivan family and burned the house down, feigning that it was an accident. Following this, she was sent to a nearby American orphanage, where she did not get along well with the other children. Despite this, nobody suspected her true identity, as Leena had prosthetic false teeth made and wore makeup to help her look younger than she really was. She makes a good impression on another family, The Colemans, who recently lost their own child Jessica to a miscarriage, and they adopt her.
After living with her new adopted family for several weeks, Kate grows suspicious when Esther expresses far more knowledge of sex than would be expected for a child of her age. Esther further antagonizes Kate by cutting flowers planted as a memorial to her stillborn child, casually reveals when another woman is flirting with John (given that he previously had an affair), and reads intimate details from Kate's diary. She is further alarmed when Sister Abigail, the head of the orphanage, warns her and John about Esther's tendency to be around when things go wrong. Esther overhears this and later kills Sister Abigail by bludgeoning her to death with a hammer. She convinces Max to help her with this and they hide all evidences in their treehouse.
A few days later at school, she opens Daniel's backpack causing his books to fall out when he's walking up the stairs. Kate gets out of the car to help him but leaves it running. Esther comes back to the car puts the gear selector in Neutral and takes off the parking break causing the car to roll down the hill with Max still inside.
Daniel decides to retrieve the hammer (which was used to kill Sister Abigail) to prove Esther's guilt. However, when he announces his plans to Max, it is overheard by Esther. The next day, Daniel goes to the treehouse and finds it unlocked. He enters the treehouse and searches for it, but found nothing. Esther appears behind him and takes all evidences from Max's bag and drops them on the floor of the treehouse. She takes out the lighter fluid and sprays on the evidences. Daniel attempts to stop her, but Esther sets the evidences and the treehouse ablaze before Daniel does anything. She leaves the now-on-fire treehouse and locks Daniel inside, in an attempt to kill him. Daniel climbs out from the treehouse through the window and tries to escape the fire, only ends up falling to the ground, injured and appears to be unconscious. Esther tries to kill him with a brick, but Max shoves her out of the way just in time, preventing her from killing Daniel. Daniel is hospitalized because of the neck injury and abdominal bleeding. Esther unsuccessfully tries to kill Daniel at the hospital, but doctors save him. Kate, knowing what happened, furiously slaps Esther and knocks her down, and is immediately subdued and sedated.
Esther tries to seduce a drunken John, who finally realizes Kate is telling the truth, and threatens to send her back to the orphanage. Esther, angry and hurt of being spurned, ransacks her room and takes off her clothing, unwraps her breasts, and removes the ribbons around her neck and wrists. As Kate is coming out of sedation, she receives a call on her cell phone from the Saarne Institute. Dr. Värava, who works at the Institute, reveals that Esther is actually a 33-year-old woman from Estonia named Leena Klammer. She has hypopituitarism, a disorder that stunted her physical growth and caused dwarfism, and, as a result, spent most of her life posing as a little girl. The doctor tells Kate that Leena is dangerous and especially violent (having killed at least 7 people before being committed, and an entire a family that adopted her after she escaped). She was put in a straight jacket, and she got scarred trying to get out of it (which explains why she wears those ribbons). At home, Esther, who is hurt from being scolded, kills John. Max witnesses her father being stabbed by Leena/Esther and hides in a hamper in her closet. Kate rushes home, only to find John dead. Leena gets a revolver from John's safe, shoots Kate on the arm and hunts Kate down before she goes to search for Max. While firing at Max in their greenhouse, Kate manages to break through from above Leena/Esther and knocks her out.
Leena later follows Kate outside to a frozen pond and lunges at Kate, where they fall and struggle onto the ice as Max watches from a hill above the pond. Max maneuvers herself to grab the gun that was dropped by Kate during the struggle. She fires at Leena/Esther but hits the ice instead, which breaks, causing Kate and Leena/Esther to drop into the water below.
After a brief struggle under the ice, during which Kate is stabbed in the leg and Leena/Esther is elbowed in the face, Kate climbs out partially, followed by Leena/Esther, begging Kate not to let her die, addresses her as "Mommy" while holding a knife behind her back. Kate then furiously responds, "I'm not your f**king mommy!" and kicks Leena/Esther in her face, breaking her neck, sending her back into the pond, dead, with blood rushing through the water, while Max and Kate are met by the police moments after.
In the alternative ending, there is no fight between her and Kate. Kate and Max escape and survive, while Leena rushes to her room. When police comes, and she re-takes her "Esther" appearance while she is singing "The Glory of Love". She faces the police with her "Esther" appearance, sweetly greets the police (with bloody scars on her face) and goes downstairs. Her fate in the alternative ending is unknown, though she is possibly arrested by the police or evaded capture.
At first glance, the Colemans see Esther as a quiet, peaceful, and kind girl with many talents. However, all of this is only a facade, and it is later revealed that Esther is not a child, but instead a full-grown psychotic woman.
Leena is an evil, psychotic, and manipulative woman who will do anything to satisfy her lust after other men, such as murder, threats, attacks on their families, and causing them to suspect their own wives. Besides her psychotic side, Leena is extremely talented at playing piano and painting. However, her paintings have a very dark and disturbing element to them under a blacklight. Most of their themes are about her dark and lustful nature, like one of a murderer and another about herself and John having a sexual encounter.
I think people should always try to take the bad things that happen to them in their lives, and turn them into something good. Don't you?
That doesn't matter. They'll send you to jail just for helping me hide her. I had to kill her, because she was going to tell on me. You're not going to tell on me… are you?
~ Esther tells Max the reason why she had killed sister Abigail.
If I find out that you're lying, I'll cut your hairless little prick off before you even figure out what it's for. Do you understand me?
~ Esther/Leena threatens Daniel.
I thought you would enjoy teaching me. It must be frustrating for someone who loves music as much as you to have a son who isn't interested and a daughter who can't even hear.
Put it out of its misery. It's in pain and it's your responsibility.
~ Esther/Leena offers Daniel to kill the pigeon with a rock.
STOP TALKING TO ME LIKE I'M A CHILD!
~ Esther/Leena shouts furiously to John.
Stop crying. Grab a foot, and help me get her off the road. NOW!
~ Esther/Leena convinces Max to help her finish off Sister Abigail.
I'll shoot Mommy if you tell!
~ Esther/Leena's threat to Max.
It's all right. It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.
~ Esther/Leena, to John.
Please… don't let me die, Mommy.
~ Leena's last words, when she tries to trick Kate.
Esther captivating John and Kate.
Esther angry after Brenda made fun of her clothes.
Esther after pushing Brenda towards the slide, breaking her leg.
Esther spying on Kate's conversation with Sister Abigail.
Esther eavesdropping Sister Abigail conversation's with Kate and John.
Esther finishing killing Sister Abigail with a hammer.
Esther threatening Daniel.
Esther cuts Kate's favorite flowers.
Esther breaking her own arm with a iron press.
Esther planning to put Neutral on the brakes of Kate's car with Max inside.
Esther setting fire to the tree house with the intention of leaving Daniel inside.
Esther tries again to kill Daniel using a pillow to suffocate him.
Esther seduces John.
Esther furious after being rejected by John.
Esther is revealed as a violent patient of the mental institute Saarne.
During filming, Isabelle Fuhrman was around 12 year old, which is opposite to her character being 33.
Esther is likely a Cluster B Psychopath with Borderline, Histrionic and Narcissistic personality traits. It is entirely possible that Esther has both Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.
In the ending credits, you can see a photograph of her when she was in the Saarne Institute, a torn paper about her disorder and her nationality, and a torn photograph of The Sullivan family.
There are some deleted scenes from Orphan that were excluded from the film:
On the day when she was adopted by The Colemans, it shows she has dinner with them on the first time. When Daniel and Max start to play with their food, Esther also joins them and later Kate follows them too, and they all playfully laugh.
After Kate finishes her phone call from Sister Abigail, she then goes to the cashier and meets Joyce in there. Esther later tells her that she has seen John happily talking to her and thinks that he might like her, which makes Kate confused. Esther continues that Joyce wanted John to come over to her house and to please not to tell John because she doesn't want to see him mad at her. From this scene, we can take that Kate feel suspicious at John and Joyce's relationship from Esther.
At night, it shows Esther walking alone to throw garbage in the yard. When she throw a garbage, a man looks behind him and see nothing there and also shows Esther who is hiding from him behind the garbage.
She is able to use sign language very well, as she uses this to communicate with Max, who is a deaf-mute.
Behind her Esther makeup, her teeth and face look rather disgusting.
The title sequence of the movie foreshadows her blacklight paintings.