Orphans

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

After the dismal failure of 1986's DREAM LOVER, director Alan J. Pakula returned to top form with the screen version of the popular 1985 Lyle Kessler play Orphans. Basically a three-man show, ORPHANS deals with a pair of orphaned brothers, Treat (Matthew Modine) and Phillip (Kevin Anderson), who live in a dilapidated old house in a seedy part of Newark,...read more

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After the dismal failure of 1986's DREAM LOVER, director Alan J. Pakula returned to top form with the screen version of the popular 1985 Lyle Kessler play Orphans. Basically a three-man show, ORPHANS deals with a pair of orphaned brothers, Treat (Matthew Modine) and Phillip (Kevin

Anderson), who live in a dilapidated old house in a seedy part of Newark, New Jersey. Treat, a potentially dangerous petty thief, is the dominant sibling. Fearing that he will lose his brother just as he lost his parents, Treat keeps Phillip imprisoned in his own home. Harold (Albert Finney) is

brought home by Treat as a potential kidnapping victim, but he quickly begins to take control of the situation. It's not often that a play can survive the transition from stage to screen without suffering some loss. ORPHANS, however, does. Kessler (who wrote both the stage play and the screenplay)

worked his claustrophobic, prisonlike setting to the film's advantage. More important to the success of ORPHANS is the brilliant acting by all three leads. Finney turns in a spectacular performance. Modine displays another facet of his acting ability as the violent, emotionally confused Treat.

Anderson, whose image changes as his character becomes readied for the outside world, keeps pace with (and often surpasses) his costars. Part fairy tale and part heightened reality, ORPHANS manages to strike an emotional chord with almost everyone who sees it.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: R
  • Review: After the dismal failure of 1986's DREAM LOVER, director Alan J. Pakula returned to top form with the screen version of the popular 1985 Lyle Kessler play Orphans. Basically a three-man show, ORPHANS deals with a pair of orphaned brothers, Treat (Matthew M… (more)

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