Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Beware the Killer Orphan

I wish I was kidding about this, but I'm not. Next month, Dark Castle Entertainment and Warner Brothers will be offering the American public: Orphan, an epic motion picture event about--I'm sure you couldn't have guessed--a psycho orphan.

Now, this is not a political entertainment watchdog rant blog, but a commentary on this sounds too fun to pass up.

Here's the plot summary that the marketing people came up with (again, I'm not kidding):
The tragic loss of their unborn child has devastated Kate and John, taking a toll on both their marriage and Kate's fragile psyche as she is plagued by nightmares and haunted by demons from her past. Struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, the couple decides to adopt another child. At the local orphanage, both John and Kate find themselves strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther. Almost as soon as they welcome Esther into their home, however, an alarming series of events begins to unfold, leading Kate to believe that there's something wrong with Esther -- this seemingly angelic little girl is not what she appears to be. Concerned for the safety of her family, Kate tries to get John and others to see past Esther's sweet facade. But her warnings go unheeded until it may be too late... for everyone.
So, let me get this straight: a couple goes to their local orphanage and finds a seemingly-innocent girl that just happens to be dressed as Little Bo Peep. The highly irresponsible nun who takes care of her KNOWS that Esther is possessed by Beelzebub but sends her home with the couple just to get the girl out of her hair! Before you know it, it's John and Kate plus their untimely fate.

Quite the disservice this film does for the adoption community by advancing nearly every adoption myth. Now I know I have a dog in this fight, but think about it with me. Some people actually think adoption has a good possibility of turning out like this. Not anyone reading this, of course, but some (too many) people reveal it through their naive questions and comments. Where do they come up with the stuff? Movies like Orphan. Why? I do not know. It's like thinking that your kid's doll could start brandishing a meat cleaver. Supported by reality or not, I just know it's a common misconception.

One-third of America has considered adoption, but only 2% have actually done it. The numbers seem unlikely, but when you understand that almost half of America thinks that foster kids are in the system due to their own delinquency, it all begins to fall into place. With over half a million children in the US foster care system (no, not in orphanages) alone, do we really need this kind of message showing on Friday nights at a theater near us? Of course not, but Hollywood hasn't taken that into consideration for decades.

What bothers me most is that I know this movie will make money. Millions of dollars that could be spent helping the real-life, non-psychotic orphans all around the world. Their stories will never be told on the big screen.

Could we lay down the make believe for a minute and invest in a real tragedy? One lived around the world by 42 million young souls every single day?

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