When Grace and her two young children, who have an extreme sensitivity to light, encounter three servants who come to their home under mysterious circumstances, they begin to sense that there is something lurking in their home; a malevolent entity that will stop at nothing to see them gone.
The irony of the story may be found in the words that Mrs. Mills, the housekeeper, shares with Grace, which are: “The Death of a loved one can lead people to do the strangest things.” The reason that Grace keeps her children locked away in darkness is not because they are allergic to the light, but because she is desperately trying to keep her children in the world of the living rather than letting them be at peace in death. The bond that connects them, that of a mother’s love, is not easily severed. That is why when her daughter, Anne, begins to sense another presence in their home; Grace is unwilling to acknowledge its existence because acknowledging the entity would ultimately mean acknowledging the truth. As the entity grows more powerful Grace must find the courage within herself to protect her children from a force she cannot see.
Light has a strong symbolic significance in the film. In the beginning, it is established that the children, Anne and Nicholas, have a severe allergy to light and that is why their home is shrouded in darkness. Grace protects her children from the light by keeping the curtains drawn and insisting that all of the doors in the house remain locked to contain the light. Whenever the light tries to penetrate the protective shell of darkness that surrounds the children, Grace goes to extreme measures to ensure that the light is extinguished. When Grace and her children finally acknowledge the truth of their tragic demise, they are able to remain in the light without being harmed. This illustrates Grace and the children passing into death together and finally being at peace. The unexplained disappearance of “the other’s” and the children’s father is also a result of their finding peace and passing out of this world and into death.
“The Others” is a hauntingly beautiful film that illustrates perfectly the strength of a mother’s love. The story is brilliantly told, chillingly suspenseful and made all the more frightening by the fact that the entity that is tormenting the family is one the audience cannot see. The casting for this movie is flawless, but Nicole Kidman truly shines in the role of Grace; her strong mother heart balanced perfectly with her descent into fear. If you enjoy horror films, then this is one I would highly recommend.