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The movie I saw it today for the 2nd time. I really like the little girl, her character, it's great. She is like Dexter. What I wish they explained in the movie is what caused her to end up in a mental institution. Maybe a bad childhood? We don't know so we don't feel that bad for her.
 

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TEAR DOWN THE WALL!
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I agree that Esther's backstory would have made the movie much more interesting. However, I'm not sure how and where it could be editted in to do the movie any justice. Besides, I've not sure the audience was supposed to sympathize with her. What made her character so unnerving was that she was a complete mystery, an abnormality, and seemingly a sociopath. People fear things that are unfamiliar and unknown. Throw in malicious, vengeful acts carried out in a cool, calculating, and regretless manner (coming from a being who is expected to be innocent, sweet, and safe), and people are going to get very uncomfortable.

But whether or not we were supposed to sympathize with Esther, I found myself doing so anyway (even without the backstory). Imagine being a 33 years old woman trapped in a child's body. 1. She can't fit in with other adults because of her condition and she can't fit in with children because of her maturity. Whether she's being herself as an adult or impersonating a child, she's going to be bullied/ discriminated against. 2. The stigma of her condition and being hospitalized for mental illness stands her no chance of employment and functioning on her own in society. 3. Judging from her obsessions with her previous "foster fathers," she clearly has a lot of sexual urges that she cannot express. Most men aren't going to be romanticly interested in a midget woman that appears to be 11 years old. Knowing that you can never have a relationship with anybody must be extremely frustrating, sexually, emotionally, and socially. And then we can only imagine what went on in her childhood and at the asylum.
 
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