Written and Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Nicole Kidman (Grace Stewart)
The story takes place on the Channel Islands in 1945.
We are on a rural curia, where Grace is raising her children alone as her husband has not yet come back from the front. The woman hires three "new" servants for help: a nanny, a gardener, and a mute chambermaid.
(Below comes first a brief outline of the scenes, and then their analyses.)
The woman of the house is complaining that she has not seen anything of the servants for a week already - as if they turned into fog, the servants disappeared suddenly.
They did not say goodbye, did not ask for their payment, just disappeared without any explanation.
There is no telephone and radio in the house, and it is forbidden to play the piano because it is important that there should be silence.
They keep the curtains closed, because the children have photosensitivity, as according to the medical diagnosis, they have light-allergy, and sunlight will blister their skin.
The nanny says for how many years she worked in the house.
The mother warns her that they should not pay attention to the children’s fantasies.
Grace is having a conversation with the children about the levels of hell.
The entrance of hell, the hell of the cursed, purgatory, and Abraham’s chest for the good.
The mother is speaking about eternal existence to her children, and what it is like when pain lasts forever.
She does not let them play, they always have to study.
The children are afraid of studying in a separate room, especially lest they see a ghost there.
Grace says to her son that when he is scared, he should squeeze the rosary and start praying.
The mother hears crying voices, and believe that they come from her children, but her children are all right.
Her daughter tells her that the voice was Victor’s, who does not let her study. Victor does not want to live in the house.
In the evening, the younger brother of the girl, Nicolas, senses that there is someone else, too, in the room beside them.
Victor is furious because the children are occupying his bed.
They draw the curtain in and out, in and out, repeatedly.
The mother becomes enraged about the girl’s fantasies.
She wants to punish her for lying.
The girl insists that she is not lying.
As a punishment, Anne has to read out loud from the Bible.
The house gets covered by fog.
The mother hears voices again. She brings her daughter to account.
Anne does not want to answer her since even now she is being punished because of the "truth".
Upstairs, the furniture is covered.
The mother does not understand who did this and why.
She hears the voices as they are talking about her.
The door opens.
There is noise coming from everywhere.
The girl shows that most often she sees an elderly woman.
And this elderly woman is always asking her questions.
The girl is complaining to the nanny that her mother has forbidden her to read books on ghosts.
She states that those are lies, but meanwhile, she expects them to believe each line of the Bible.
Anne tells the nanny about her doubts. For example, that she does not believe doves are saint, since, as Nicolas adds, they pooh on their windows!
The mother is looking at old photos. In the pictures, everyone’s eyes are closed.
She asks the nanny why they are all sleeping.
The nanny tells her that this is The Book of the Dead, and that in the former century, pictures were made of those who had passed away.
According to the mother, it is cruel to make photos of the dead, for which the nanny says that grief over the loss of a loved one can make one do the most peculiar things.
The woman hears someone playing the piano.
She breaks into the room and shuts the top of the instrument.
When she opens the door, she feels that someone pushes her from the other side. Then, the door swings shut, so strongly, that the woman even tumbles.
She runs for the key of the room and when she opens it again, she sees that the top of the piano is open again. She is wondering if someone else is in the house, too.
The nanny reassures her that she believes in the other world, and sometimes, the world of the dead gets mixed with that of the living.
The woman protests, because according to her, God would not allow such mixing.
Grace leaves for a priest so that he will bless the house.
She orders the gardener to find the graves of those who lived there before them.
The gardener has fears for the woman, but the nanny assures him that due to the fog, she will not be able to get far.
The gardener asks her when they will tell the woman the truth, and the nanny scolds him, saying, all in due time. Then she warns the man that there is a grave under the yellowed leaves of which a part can be seen, and that he should cover it.
Out of the fog appears a figure. As it turns out, it is Charles, the father, who has been fighting in the war until then.
The man tells them that he was searching for their home for long and that sometimes, he still starts bleeding.
The children press their father to their breast happily.
Anne gets into a conflict with her mother again, because the woman does not want to know about the "intruders". The nanny consoles her saying that she, too, saw "them", but the girl’s mother believes only in what she learned. The nanny encourages Anne to have faith that sooner or later her mother will see "them" as well. There will be changes soon.
The nanny discusses with the others that the mother is very obstinate and that it will be difficult to convince her.
According to her, the father does not know, either, where he is, he is "not aware of the truth", either.
Anne is trying on her First Communion dress. She uses the veil to play ghost.
When her mother scolds her for sitting on the ground, she catches sight of an unknown woman in her daughter, and tears her dress off.
The girl states that she wanted to kill her.
Charles is depressed.
He does not eat, nor does he participate in the family’s life. She is badgering her wife with questions about a particular day.
The woman does not understand the question, but apologizes. The man rebukes her, saying she should apologize to her children.
Charles tells her that he came only to say good-bye, and that he goes back to the war. The woman does not understand, since the war is already over.
The girl complains that her mother has gone mad again, like "on that day".
They wake up to the fact that the curtains are gone. The sun is not shining in, because there is a fog, but there is daylight on everything. The woman believes that this is the servants’ doing, and she wants to expel them.
The nanny decides that she has had enough of the woman’s hysteria and so they uncover the grave stones.
Grace ransacks every wardrobe for the curtains.
The girl escapes through the window to go after her father. The boy climbs after her.
The children find the graves.
Meanwhile, the mother finds photos from 1891 in which the three servants can be seen with closed eyes.
The names on the graves are theirs, too.
In the meantime, the three servants are getting closer and closer to the children.
The girl realizes that they are dealing with dead people and warns her confused brother.
The children run towards their mother who starts towards the three servants with a rifle.
The servants are approaching little by little despite the shooting.
The nanny rebukes the woman, saying she should not bother because tuberculosis already did its duty more than half a century ago.
Grace closes the door and sends the children up to their room.
The children lock themselves in a wardrobe, but hear noises, and then a woman opens it.
Grace says a prayer aloud then goes after the children.
There are several people in the room.
They are sitting around a table, and a woman with a peculiar look in her eyes is writing something, which a man reads out loud.
It is obvious that we are witnesses of a séance, where the elderly woman is in a trance, and is trying to get into contact with Anne.
When she asks her how they died, the children start shouting, "We’re not dead! We’re not dead!"
On the paper as well, the same words appear.
The inhabitants of the house decide that they will rather move away.
Suddenly, everything becomes clear for Grace.
She says that she smothered her children with a pillow, then shot herself in the head.
In the meantime, she was praying to the Lord that he help her start anew, so that she could become a better mother.
The shot is fired but nothing happens.
At least, nothing happens for Grace.
She hears her children shrilling and screaming in the room, and she believes that the murder was only a fantasy.
The nanny reassures them that everything will be all right. There certainly will be new intruders, but then they will defend their home. No one will take their house away from them, because this is their house.
It is only at the end of the film that it turns out that all the main characters are dead.
If someone dies suddenly - either as a result of an accident or murder -, it happens often that he or she does not notice that she or he has crossed the threshold.
I, too, have met such cases.
One of my neighbors for example dropped down dead in the street.
Then she went home to her family and did not understand why they were crying. She asked them in vain about who died, they did not answer her.
She lived among them and did her daily routine all along until the day of her funeral.
Then, she had to face who was lying in the casket, and also, at the beginning of the ceremony, I sent my helpers for her.
But I met a case also where the ghost of the dead person did not believe even to me that he did not belong to the living any more.
I numbered the scenes so that it should be easier to connect the explanations to them.
Due to their sudden death, the inhabitants of the house could not say good-bye to one another, and so the woman perceives as if the servants went away.
As she is denying that she died, she does not perceive the living.
It is often the case that when people do not accept that they died, other dead souls are sent to them, so that they will realize at last that they have already crossed over to the "other world".
When someone dies in a way that they do not notice it, their original belief system stays untouched.
Their mental, intellectual and spiritual limits remain the same, they possess exactly the same amount of knowledge as when they were still alive, and of course, they are deaf to every approach and point of view which is incompatible with their belief system.
Naturally, the conception about the otherworld always adjusts to a particular society, era and the then current religious approach.
There is an endless number of hell-theories, just as we encounter more and more creation-theories these days. We cannot be certain which one reflects reality precisely, as with these, we want to explain in 3 dimensions what exists at least on 18 planes, no matter whether we talk about the creation, hell, or the levels of the otherworld.
In my book which will be published, I am talking about what I was shown, but I do not state that mine is the true one, because they warned me in the first place that I receive only as much information as we can know at present.
The different devotional objects have exactly as much strength as we endow them with.
If someone believes in them, they will help, but if they end up in the hands of a disbeliever, they will remain simply objects.
The boy had been raised to be a believer, therefore the rosary calmed him down better than pills.
Children always sense souls who remain in a house.
Unfortunately, adults just very rarely take seriously what they say. They are afraid to face reality, so they rather belie their own children.
In most of the cases, it is fathers who are not willing to face reality, and further subject their children to restless sleep.
Then, the child’s soul is hurt in two ways.
First, in that he or she should not believe what he or she sees; and second, that the person who once promised to protect him or her, breaks his promise.
It is in every case the mother’s responsibility to help her child.
She should ask for the help of a professional despite the protest of her husband, or even without her husband’s knowledge.
She should help those who stuck in this dimension, help her child’s healthy development, and should not let anyone’s cowardice pull her down to ignorance.
It is a frequent phenomenon that a cloud of fog covers reality from those suffering from the blindness of the soul.
For those who fear and are disbelievers, it is easier to blame others than to admit that they were wrong.
For those who end up on a lower vibration level after their death, objects remain real, too.
It is often the case that in antiquity shops, next to the objects there are the souls of their ex-owners, too. Cracking pieces of furniture also indicate that the ex-owner is present.
The elderly woman is the medium whom the family hired. She is asking them so that she could get into contact with them.
At this part, the film stopped, and my computer froze.
No matter how many times I tried, the film stopped exactly at the part where they are talking about the crossing between the two worlds.
For me, this was an indication that while I was watching the film, someone else was watching it with me from the other world, too.
As I have already mentioned, the personality of the deceased who do not know that they died remains the same. We cannot tell them straightforwardly what happened to them, because they will not believe us. The truth should be presented to them in an appropriate way, little by little.
If someone is not ready for the truth yet, they will not accept it readily, especially if in their life, too, they were stubborn and independent characters.
The appearance of the father calls attention to yet another rule.
During the course of our life, we leave a fine energy-string behind us everywhere we went to and where we spent a night. Before we can finally leave this dimension, we have to roll this string up. We have to visit one more time every place we were to during our life.
The father’s soul had to return home as well, so that he could go away.
It happens often in the world of the living, too, that children are more mature than their parents.
Many people have this problem. If something is not included in the teachings of the actual school system, then it does not exist, either, even if they see it with their own eyes.
Reality is what the powers state it to be.
It happens only rarely that the servant-minded are able to believe in something different than what is prescribed.
When the girl puts on her dress and hides behind the veil, this is the moment when the medium manages to tune in to her.
We call it possession when in the world of the living, a spirit enters into the body of a human. The same happened in the film, only in a reversed way. It was the energies of the medium which showed in the girl’s eyes.
The man feels the time has come for him to leave.
But before it, he hauls his wife up for what she did to the children.
The woman is evading the issue, and the husband gives it up.
It did not matter that he knew the truth, and that he was aware what her wife had done, because he could not tell it to her.
When he asked her about it, the woman did not understand the question. The man saw that the woman did not remember yet what she had done, so he stopped asking her about it.
The child remembers what happened, but, wisely, she keeps quiet about it.
Objects are important for the dead.
We would believe that we cannot take anything with us into the grave.
Well, if we cross the threshold, it is indeed true that we cannot take anything with us, but for those who have stuck here, their objects are real.
In this scene, too, it can be seen clearly that after we died, we become neither cleverer, nor braver.
The characters of the film are just as afraid of the dead as when they were still alive.
This fear has its origin in the ignorance of several millennia - in the fact that they wanted to make people internalize the Punishing God approach, which entails that the otherworld goes hand in hand with the fear of punishment, and we regard the dead as some kind of henchmen.
Almost everyone is afraid that it might turn out that someone is watching us, that we are seen doing things that are embarrassing, and we are afraid to face this.
It is an important circumstance that Grace is praying.
At first, it was very disturbing for me since a prayer always attracts angelic helpers, who help us move on.
It was when I watched the film for a second time that I realized Grace’s prayers were indeed heard.
Namely, she asked to have a chance to prove that she was a good mother.
Not once did she ask for help to move on, or to be able to enter heaven. She wanted only the house and her children. The Creator was generous with her, as she got what she wanted.
She suddenly realizes the truth, and what is happening with them, but she is still holding to the life they are used to.
She does not know what could happen to them, so it is still her fear of the unknown that governs her and she holds on to what she is familiar with.
The inhabitants of the house decide to change residence, and they do not even try to send the souls away.
I, myself, have the same attitude.
If I have permission, then I help one cross over, but if I sense that the time has not come yet, or I simply do not have permission for it, then I tell people that it would be simpler for them to move away, or at least to separate themselves from their other-worldly house-mates.
One of the producers of the film was Tom Cruise. At that time, he has already been living in the lure of Scientology.
I would have been curious about his views concerning the souls of the dead, but they cannot be determined from this film. I hope we will have the chance to see a production from him which touches upon this as well!
The film ends in a way that it has no ending. No change happens.
They do not ask the powers above to help them go on, they do not enlighten the children on their state, they do not change anything.
The woman decides that they will stay in the trap of time and this dimension.
This can be done, too!
This is the planet of free will, so we have to respect her decision.
Of course, somewhere deep in me there is the impulse to say how ignorant it is to do so, and what irresponsibility it is towards the children, what fanaticism, and on the part of the servants, what narrow-mindedness!
This is what a part of my ego would say, but I cannot do so because it would be judgment, and that is not my sphere of authority.