I just finished watching The Orphanage, and I'm really tired from crying.
Now, I'm going to confess to an open secret: I absolutely adore kids, and eventually want to have a few munchkins of my own. I also plan to adopt a few. Too many people these days either idolize kids or hate them irrationally, and I have no patience for either. I don't know if it's just because I never lost my child eyes, or if it's because I've been around them my whole life, but kids are something special that MUST be protected. They are so small and physically helpless, and I remember all too well what it's like to be afraid of something under my bed-- it still happens to me at 31 occasionally.
So children in peril is something that affects me, strongly, I still whimper (I am not speaking in hyperbole, either) when I watch Poltergeist. I loved The Host, but don't know if I can ever watch it again. The Orphanage has a lot of kids in it, and bad, bad things happen to many of them. You also have a heart-broken mother and father, and they are trying desperately to unravel the upsetting mystery that their home seems to be suffocating in.
A big part of this movie's tone is also the loss of bright possibilities. When you have a wonderful future in your hands, it's horrible to have that knocked away, taking your heart with it. I'm not going to reveal too much of this movie-- it's beautiful and heart breaking and wonderful, and the end really needs to be experienced as it unfolds, instead of knowing what's coming.
Tonally this movie reminds me a lot of Pan's Labyrinth, another gorgeous film that made me sob in the theater. It's a lot like a faery tale, but more cautionary that fantastical, and with ghosts instead of fantastical creatures.
See this movie.