Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #232 Lady in the Water

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Movie #232 Lady in the Water

(2006, US, d. M. Night Shyamalan)

Just a few years ago, I used to be obsessed with Shyamalan. Following the catastrophe that was The Happening, I started to ground myself. But when this film first came out, I was enamored. I loved everything about it. So it’s weird trying to write an objective review after so many years. Let’s just start with the fact that the film doesn’t really ever ground itself in a single tone and because of that, it feels like it is the script that is wrong. Rather, I feel it to be the direction in this film. What is supposed to be a magical film about Fate and saying goodbye is instead a quasi-art film that tries to keep a tone of horror and tension simply for being written and directed by its filmmaker. Paul Giamatti gives a great turn as Cleveland Heep, considering the fact he had to stutter every word that came out of his mouth. It’s a wacky, modern and urban fairy tale – one that I think fits perfectly in the hipster film anthology, but still an indescribable one. A weird amalgamation of subtlety, slapstick, horror, suspense, and even cartoon, it’s hard to make something out of Shyamalan’s “most personal” film. In all honesty though, I’d say don’t see this film. It’s a waste of time, but it’s a waste of time that at least you can read into. And plus, it’s shot beautifully.

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  1. I think the problem is that you’re trying to view it as a horror film and not a philosophy piece. M. NIght clearly makes fun of people who want to see his movies as horror films in the person of the film critic in this film. Someday you might want to return to this and look more at the theme than the plot.

  2. I’ve seen this film 15 times. When I was younger, I used to think Shyamalan was the most talented filmmaker in Hollywood. I loved this movie, and though I do think there are philosophical themes in this film (If you read “The Man Who Heard Voices: Or How Shyamalan Risked His Career to Make A Fairy Tale”, this will be confirmed), they are all submerged underneath a layer of a completely undistinguishable and unrelatable tone that continuously changes.

    The plot for me is probably the best part of the film, save the performances. Its the way he emotes and visualizes it that is the problem.

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