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Lady in the Water

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

< read all 11 reviews

Dark and Murky, Eerie Bedtime Story

  • Jun 1, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+3
Pros: Original and well acted.

Cons: Hard to see at times because of the low light.

The Bottom Line: Well, I want to see it again soon. I think that this is a movie that bears repeat watching to catch the fine detail.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

M. Night Shyamalan returns again with another dark twisted tale that makes us question some of our basic beliefs.

Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) is a simple and sad maintenance man with a painful secret. His confidence in the world has been shaken, leaving him a "behind-the-scenes" sort of man with a stutter.

One has to completely suspend reality to buy into this supernatural tale that is populated with strange and wonderful ordinary people--regular peculiar folks that wander through our daily existence. Heep finds them all as residents of the apartment building he cares for.

His world is turned upside down when he finds a strange woman in his apartment complex pool. It becomes apparent to him very soon that she is not of his world. Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) is enigmatic and gives Cleveland tantalizing bits of information that lead him on an adventure to piece together her story. A chance remark that Story is a "narf" from the blue world causes Heep to ask a neighbor, a student, if she can look the word up. The young Asian student (Cindy Cheung) says that she recalls that word from a bed time story. She doesn't remember all of it, and asks her mother to fill in some details. It takes time, but the elements of the story are revealed and Cleveland realizes that he and his neighbors have to help Story return to her own Blue World.

The neighbors all seem to have qualities that cast them as heroic characters in this dark bed time story. There is a Guardian and a Healer and The Guild and Heep has to figure out which neighbor fulfills which role.

There is an eerie, threatening monster lurking in the grass that threatens Story and seeks to keep her from returning to her Blue World. Who is THE Guardian? I didn't figure it out before it was revealed.

M. Night Shyamalan appears again, but he has a much larger role that he has in previous films (Signs, The Sixth Sense). His character is pivotal in an understated way. He acts with a genuine and appealing manner. I thought he probably had some acting ability, and I was pleased by what I saw from him in this film.

The cast of quirky neighbors includes Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) Mary Beth Hurt (The Family Man) Tovah Feldshuh (Law and Order) and Jeffrey Wright (The Manchurian Candidate). They seem to understand that something is going on and accept that they are part of something extraordinary.

This film is similar to previous efforts by Shyamalan in that it does not rely on special effects to carry the film. The story has unique twists which is also typical to previous efforts. A good part of the film is shot in low light which made us scramble to get the light in the room set so that we could see what was going on. This film is better seen in a darkened theater than a home screen to get the best viewing experience.

This is not your normal bed time story. It belongs more with The Brothers Grimm than Mother Goose. In the end, Cleveland has to open up the book of his painful past. He finds that he's not alone after all.

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12

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More Lady in the Water reviews
review by . November 05, 2009
Pros: Unique story, good acting, music, style     Cons: Not much     The Bottom Line: This won't be the right cup of tea for some Shyamalan fans, but if you like his style and can handle a bit of urban fantasy, you're good to go.     When people hear M. Night Shyamalan's name, they think scary.  They think dead people and bizarre twists.  So I think when people saw the trailer for Lady in the Water, they were confused.  When …
review by . June 08, 2009
Lady in the Water
Lady in the Water is easily an old school Steven Spielberg-esque film. Shyamalan has given us Cleveland Heap, who in true ET style,  is going to help a young woman make her way back home. There are, of course, enemies that stand in there way, but that is nothing compared to the lack of self-confidence in their ability to carry out this mission. Thankfully, they have an eclectic cast of supporting characters that will each in their own colorful way help these two do what they are meant to do.   & …
review by . November 17, 2008
Based on an ancient story   Of a Blue World we forgot   When mankind turned away from peace   Bringing decay and rot     To save us all, the story goes   A messenger is sent   Awakening a human to   Forestall our sharp descent     Of course there is a darker force   A creature full of hate   Sent to destroy the messenger   So we can't change our fate     A …
review by . September 30, 2007
Pros: Well acted, especially the every adorable Bryce Dallas Howard     Cons: Lacks energy; weak script; too far-fetched     The Bottom Line: M. Night Shyamalan is coasting along on reputation alone.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I loved The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 break out hit. The movie was mysterious, engaging and seriously frightening. None of the Indian born writer …
review by . January 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Shyamalan's films are somewhat quirky and offbeat and very much draw upon his own idiosyncratic (but neither entirely original or totally out there) sense of what kinds of stories ought to be told. They usually don't conform to the standard Hollywood storytelling model, which means there are gaps and inconsistencies and odd duck characters and miscues that aren't entirely justified or the structure of the films is slanted without a clear "beginning" "middle" and "end" or where a "twist" takes the …
review by . June 27, 2007
I have seen every M. Night Shyamalan movie and like most people I have also had my share of problems with them as well. No matter what you think of him or his films he will no doubt always give an interesting story and he does so with Lady in the Water. Like one of the characters say in this film "the world no longer has any originality" I definitely agree. With Lady in the Water you get complete originality with a weird array of characters. Paul Giamatti (Cleveland Heep) plays a building manager …
review by . January 18, 2007
From all the previews, I was expecting a real horror story ... NOT! Although I enjoyed some of the actors and thought Giametti, as the building manager, and Howard as the water nymph, were suited for their roles, this movie was too slow in getting started.    Once I figured out what was going on and got past the large cast of characters involved, it turned out to be fairly enjoyable ... but I had to view it as a semi-comedy instead of the horror movie that I expected.    Exce …
review by . March 16, 2007
The Lady in the title is named Story, and is played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The water is literally an apartment swimming pool, but is really the blue world that is Earth. The story of this movie is relationship between the apt superintendent and Story. She rescues him from drowning at the beginning of the movie, he then rescues her from the wolf. Later she sees into his troubled heart and rescues his soul by giving someone to care for again; her. At the end he rescues her by assembling the apartment …
review by . January 16, 2007
M. Night Shyamalan has provide us another interesting film. His earlier works have been very cynical, and sometimes dark which I had fun watching. This film, in the other hand, ventures away from that and the characters are in a dissimilar light. M. Night somehow made a movie that is compatible with children, and just as compatible with the adult. The humor doesn't lose its touch halfway through the movie, and in some respects the humor adds to the sadness. The opening tells us that this is a children's …
review by . December 26, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
LADY IN THE WATER is a very tough film to review. M. Night Shyamalan is doubtless a new thinker and has produced some original and interesting films (none of which equal the promise of his first one THE SIXTH SENSE) and LADY IN THE WATER has some very good aspects. It is just such a mixed bag, full of holes and hints of personal vendettas that it ultimately fails to achieve what it sets out to do.    The opening sequence tells a tale in charming line drawings about how we all …
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Or, if you prefer,I See Wet People. M. Night Shyamalan's attempt at a newfangled mythology--about a depressed apartment superintendent (Paul Giamatti) who discovers a sea-nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard) who may hold the key to humanity's hopeful future--is intriguing enough to capture the imaginations of children and adults who haven't lost sight of their innocent sense of wonder. Cynics, on the other hand, will likely scoff at Shyamalan's awkward fantasy, which includes one victim--a film critic--widely interpreted as Shyamalan's revenge against reviewers who pannedThe Village. Shyamalan originally improvised this melancholy fantasy as a bedtime story for his children; unfortunately, it still feels mostly half-baked and ultimately ineffective due to a number of plot holes and inconsistencies that a writer as talented as Shyamalan should've been able to avoid. For those wishing to learn more about the film's troubled history, and Shyamalan's petulant split from Disney studios,The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Taleis an interesting read.--Jeff Shannon
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