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Lady in the Water February 10, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.

M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t kidding when he said that this was a bedtime story for kids because this is exactly that – a story with a bit of mystery, intrigue, quirky characters, villanous creatures and a happy ending. But that is the problem with this film. The screenplay is a bit too convenient, almost to the point of being ludicrous. All of Shyamalan’s films require the audience to first start believing in the world that he creates before they can enjoy the movie. This one needs a lot more of that than his other films. Primarily, kids will want to believe such a story.

Shyamalan’s talent as a director and his brilliant imagination is there for everyone to see and this film is no exception. However, he fails this time as a writer by spinning a yarn that is a bit too much to digest for most folks. Writing a movie about real characters that we have seen around us isn’t as difficult as creating an imaginary world and pulling everyone into it. Shyamalan has successfully done this in the past and I believe he can do more in the future.

He has done some things wrong with this one but I don’t see why some critics are so hell bent upon bringing him down. Why do so many people feel that every film of his has to match The Sixth Sense? The bar is unjustly set too high for him. And thankfully there is no big twist in this one because everybody wants to figure it out to satisfy their egos and that has been working against him.

After the debacle of this one, Shyamalan might want to move away from his brand of films, but I wouldn’t want that to happen. Hollywood has enough people who can write or direct Oscar winning biopics but very few that can match Shyamalan’s ingenuity and originality.

Bryce Dallas Howard teams up with Shyamalan again (after The Village) and she gets the central part of the narf. She does well though there isn’t too much scope to make an impact. Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man, The Illusionist) plays the apartment superintendent who finds the narf and he is good as usual. Among the other characters in the apartment, I enjoyed the one of the critic, played by Bob Balaban. Though it wasn’t a big piece, it was funny. The rest of the characters weren’t really that interesting (not to mention that a couple were bad like the Korean girl and her mom). Shyamalan’s cameo is a bit longer here and though he isn’t a good actor, he isn’t a pain to watch either. James Newton Howard’s score is a plus as usual.

If Shyamalan wanted to create a contemporary fantasy, he has failed but if he wanted to create a fantastical story for kids, then he has succeeded moderately. Overall, I didn’t hate this film but I can’t say that it is a good one either. After a point, I just stopped questioning and let the kid in me take over. Watch this if you love fantasy films or if you are a Shyamalan fan.


1. dr.bujji - February 14, 2007

sai’s comment is excellent.

2. Shujath - March 2, 2007

After all the negativity spread around this movie plus a couple of Razzies for Shyamalan; I had quite low expectations before I began watching this tonight and that’s probably the reason I ended up liking it. I won’t say I loved it but I was definitely happy and satisfied.

As you have rightly said, you have to let the kid in you takeover when you see this one. As Shyamalan said before, this is a “bedtime story” he wrote for his kids….so I don’t think one can blame him if the viewer is expecting another “Sixth Sense” as usual.

The best character in this movie was the film critic who did provide some good humor. The others except Paul Giamatti didn’t have much to do. Even though this film flopped, I hope the good thing it would do is make people stop expecting the regular “Shyamalan twist” and watch his next one with an unbiased mind.

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