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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.|
|“||Please... don't let me die, mommy...||„|
|~ Esther's last words before Kate kicks her in the head hard enough to snap her neck.|
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 hypopituitary disorder that makes her look much younger than she actually is.
According to Dr. Värava from the Saarne Institute, an Estonian mental institution, Esther Coleman 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 was one of the wildest and violent patients, who would always hurt the staff employees. These behaviors eventually resulted in her being put in a straitjacket; she would constantly get out of them due to her fighting and resisting, but developed several scars as a result.
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. Because of this, she is never found and is later adopted by the Sullivans, an American family. She tried to seduce her adopted father, but failed. She killed everyone 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.
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 other woman flirt with John (given 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 near 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 pieces of evidence 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 brake, causing the car to roll down the hill with Max still inside.
Daniel decides to retrieve the hammer which was used to slay Sister Abigail to prove Esther's guilt. However when he reveals his plans to Max, Esther overhears. The next day, Daniel goes to the treehouse and finds it unlocked. He enters the treehouse and searches for the hammer but finds nothing. Esther appears behind him and sets the treehouse ablaze to stop Daniel. 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 near burns to death, only ends up falling to the ground, injured and unconscious. Esther near murders him with a brick but Max shoves her out of the way. Daniel is hospitalized cause of the neck injury and abdominal bleeding. Esther Near murders 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, Mad and hurt, ransacks her room and takes off her clothing/makeup, unwraps her breasts and removes the ribbons around her neck and wrists. Meanwhile, 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, she spent most of her life posing as a little girl. The doctor tells Kate that Leena is dangerous and especially violent.
At home, Leena, hurt from being scolded, murders John now wearing black long sleeves with her hair tied looking aged. 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 and sending her back into the pond, dead, with blood rushing through the water, while Max and Kate are met by the police moments after as Esther's corpse keeps sinking to her watery grave.
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 antisocial woman.
Leena is an evil 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 savage 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.
- Despite that Orphan received mixed reviews, Esther Coleman was Isabelle Fuhrman's breakout role.
- During filming, Isabelle Fuhrman was around 12 year old, which is opposite to her character being 33.
- Esther is based off of real life 33-year-old Czech adoption imposter and psychopath named Babora Skarlova who passed as a little girl, then years later passed off as a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Adam since she gained weight. she tortured two children in her adoptive family and locked them up in cages, then cannibalized one of them. she was imprisoned but got released later on for good behavior. Her whereabouts today are currently unknown.
- 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 black light paintings.