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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
Esther Coleman (real name: Leena Klammer) is the main antagonist of the horror movie, Orphan. She is a presumed 9-year-old Russian girl who now has a foster family named the Colemans (Kate Coleman, John Coleman, Max Coleman and Daniel Coleman).
She was portrayed by Isabelle Fuhrman who also played Clove in The Hunger Games.
Born as Leena Klammer in Estonia on April 20, 1976 and she is suffering from hypopituitarism, which made her unable to grow and stuck in her child-like body, despite being a mature, older woman. There is little else known about her background. The original script treatment initially depicted Esther as slightly more sympathetic and tragic, yet still disturbing, as she had been repeatedly raped as a child by her own father for years, destroying any chance that Leena could ever have her own children and sexualizing her at a young age. The reason she was sent to the Saarne Mental Institution in the first place was because she killed her father and a new lover he took in after he told her she can never be "a real woman" due to her condition. After escaping from Saarne, she worked as a prostitute in Estonia for years, mostly catering to wealthy pedophiles. When she was arrested for this, she pretended to be a child prostitute to stay out of jail. The police did not investigate her true identity and she and was sent to an orphanage. In the original treatment, it is also revealed that she was in fact disgusted with the fact that she resembled a child and wanted to be what her father considered to be a 'real woman' to a man and have a family of her own. Because of this, she obsessively and delusionally tries to find 'love' where she thought she'd had it as a child, with her new father. Most of this backstory was cut out in the final film, however, it does explain Leena's backstory for all those years.
In the final film, according to Dr. Värava from the Saarne Institute, an Estonian mental institution, she is a serial killer who has already murdered seven people that they know of. For this, she was later caught and placed in the Saarne Institute. She is one of the most wild and violent patients, who always hurting the staff employees, which eventually resulted in her being put in a straitjacket. However, she managed to free herself by fighting constantly to get out from it, but leaving scars around her neck and wrists in the process. 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 as a child. Because of this, she is never found and is later adopted by the Sullivans, an American family, afterwards. She tried to seduce her adopted father, but failed, as a result she killed the entire Sullivan family 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, nobdy 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, the Colemans, who recently lost their own child to a miscarriage, and they adopt her.
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 another woman is flirting with John (given that 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 around 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 evidences in their treehouse. A few days later when at the 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 break causing the car to roll down the hill with Max still inside.
Daniel decides to retrieve the hammer used to kill Sister Abigail to prove Esther's guilt. However, when he announces his plans to Max, it is overheard by Esther. The next day, Daniel goes to the treehouse and finds it unlocked. He enters the treehouse and searches for it, but found nothing. Esther appears behind him and takes all evidences from Max's bag and drops them on the floor of the treehouse. She takes out the lighter fluid and sprays on the evidences. Daniel attempts to stop her, but Esther sets the evidences and the treehouse ablaze before Daniel does anything. She leaves the now-on-fire treehouse and locks Daniel inside, attempts to kill him. Daniel climbs out from the treehouse through the window and tries to escape the fire, only ends up falling to the ground, injured and appears unconscious. Esther tries to kill him with a brick, but Max shoves her out of the way just in time, preventing her from killing Daniel. Daniel is hospitalized due to neck injury and abdominal bleeding. Esther unsuccessfully tries to kill 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. He threatens to send her back to the orphanage. Esther, angry and hurt of being spurned, ransacks her room and takes off her clothing, unwraps her breasts, and removes the ribbons around her neck and wrists. As Kate is coming out of sedation, she receives a call on her cell phone from the Saarne Institute. Dr. Värava (Karel Roden), 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, spent most of her life posing as a little girl. The doctor tells Kate that Leena is dangerous and especially violent (having killed at least seven people before being committed, and an entire family that adopted her after she escaped). She was put in a straight jacket, and she got scarred trying to get out of it (which explains why she wears those ribbons). At home, Esther, who is hurt from being scolded, kills her adoptive father, John. 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 and 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 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, sending her back into the pond, dead, with blood rushing through the water, while Max and Kate are met by the police moments after.
In alternative ending, there is no fight between her and Kate. Kate and Max are escaped and survived, while Leena rushes to her room when police came, and she re-takes her "Esther" appearance while she is singing "The Glory of Love". She faces the police with her "Esther" appearance, sweetly greets the police (with scars on her face) and go downstairs. Her fate in the alternative ending is unknown, though she is possibly arrested by the police or evaded capture.
I think people should always try to take the bad things that happen to them in their lives, and turn them into something good. Don't you?
That doesn't matter. They'll send you to jail just for helping me hide her. I had to kill her, because she was going to tell on me. You're not going to tell on me... are you?
~ Esther tell to Max the reason why she kill sister Abigail
If I find out that you're lying, I'll cut your hairless little prick off before you even figure out what it's for. Do you understand me?
~ Esther/Leena threaten Daniel
I thought you would enjoy teaching me. It must be frustrating for someone who loves music as much as you to have a son who isn't interested and a daughter who can't even hear
Put it out of its misery. It's in pain. And it's your responsibility.
~ Esther/Leena offer Daniel to kill the pigeon with rock
STOP TALKING TO ME LIKE I'M A CHILD !
~ Esther/Leena shout furiously to John
Stop crying. Grab a foot, and help me get her off the road. NOW!
~ Esther/Leena convince Max to help her to finish Sister Abigail
I'll shoot Mommy if you tell !
~ Esther/Leena threaten to Max
It's all right. It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own
~ Esther/Leena to John
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 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 didn't get added in the final film:
On her day when she got adopted by the Colemans, its shown she had dinner with them on the first time. When Daniel and Max start to play with their food, Esther also join them which later Kate follow them too and laughed
After Kate finish her phone-call from Sister Abigail, she then go to cashier and meet Joyce in here. Esther later tell to her that she see John happily talk to her and think that he possibility like her, which made Kate confused. Esther continued that Joyce wanted John to come to her house, and later plea to not to tell John because she don't want to see he mad at her.
At night, it shown Esther walk alone to throw a garbage in the yard. When she throw a garbage, a man (possibility a beggar) look behind him and see nothing in here, and also shown Esther who is panicked hiding from him behind the garbage.
Esther/Leena Klammer shares similarities with Ling Fook-Wing from the film, Murderer:
Both are suffered from Hypopituitarism.
Both were adopted by the protagonist(s) to replace their dead-child.
Both were evil-geniuses who tricked the families into adopting them.
Both antagonized the main charactes (Kate Coleman and Ling) and successfully tricked their spouse (John Coleman and Hazel).
Both were dressed-maturely near the climax.
Both have fought with the main character in the end of the movie, But Fook-wing was never killed by Ling and Esther/Leena was killed by Kate (if does not include the alternate ending of Orphan, where Esther/Leena does not have to fight with Kate and she escapes.)
Both have the appearance of little girls, yet weren't actually that (Esther was actually a 30 year old psychopath, while Lillith was actually a demon)
Both end up having a climactic showdown with the female protagonists in a lake, eventually being "killed" by the protagonist when they attempt to leave them in the lake.
Both were even subject to an alternate ending where both survive, with the ending having a more sinister tone (although Esther does not actually encounter Kate and Max in that ending, while Lillith does still fight Emily in the alternate ending).
Both are Complete Monsters.
Esther also has some similarities to Henry Evans from The Good Son:
Both characters managed to trick their families into thinking they were innocent people while only two members of the family saw them for what they truly were (in Henry's case, it was Mark and Connie, while in Esther's case, it was Kate and Daniel).
Both also manipulate a character who looked up to them into trying to commit a serious crime (in Henry's case, he manipulated Mark into dropping a dummy called "Mr. Highway" onto a packed highway, causing several pileups, while in Esther's case, she manipulated her adopted little sister Max into giving her a hammer to murder Sister Abigail)
Both also proceeded to attempt to kill their siblings in various ways (Henry by manipulating Connie into falling into thin ice, and Esther by setting fire to Daniel's treehouse), with the result also leaving them in a coma.
The main difference here, however, is that it was left ambiguous as to whether Henry actually succeeded, while with Esther, she failed due to the doctors resuscitating him in time (although original drafts for the story had her succeeding).
Both also had a mental institution as part of their characterization, although their exact connection differed (namely, Henry's actions late in the film was to avoid going to a mental institution, while Esther herself came from a mental institution).
At least one of the parents also did not have any suspicions about their true natures until late into the film.
Coincidentally, Sarah discovered the first signs of his psychopathy for the same reason how Kate discovered Esther's psychopathy (by either seeing or deducing their attempt at smothering a hospitalized relative).
Both also ended up killed by their mothers when in a situation where they were near death, and also aimed to antagonize a character beforehand.
In addition, the fathers also denied that they had any psychopathic elements (the only difference is that Wallace is never depicted as ever finding out about what his son was truly like, while John only realizes it at the last minute before he is killed by Esther).
Both also committed at least one murder in their family before the events of the film (Henry murdered his younger brother, while Esther had killed at least two families that "adopted" her.)
Both are Complete Monsters.
TVTropes even compared the two on the Orphan film page with the tagline "It's like The Good Son. Only sicker."