The Lady in the Water - A Review — Horror Movies
I know I said I'd post my thoughts on "Lady in the Water" over the weekend, but most of my energy this past week has been taken by my non-eating, weight losing, vomiting, Commodore. But I did see the movie, liked it very much, and have quite a few things to say about the film. Non of which are spoilers so feel free to read on if you're interested.
First off it has to be said, for the critics to pan this movie to the extent that they have seems absolutely unnecessary and just plain bizarre. For all of the faults that "Lady in the Water" has, and it has its fair share, the movie did by no means suck. After reading so many of those reviews I was afraid that this would be the first Shyamalan movie that I would walk away from hating. I was sure that despite all my praise for him, and all of my words on keeping an open mind, that the movie would be so horrible that I would be left saying, "I was wrong, this movie is awful." I was fully prepared to make such a stand, almost expecting it really, but the whole time I was watching the film I kept thinking to myself, "This doesn't suck at all! I'm even really loving it!"
After listening to my husband's thoughts on the movie I think that he made a good point by saying that this movie was inappropriately marketed as a movie for adults, when really it should have been marketed as a kids movie. To say that it should have been billed as a kids movie does not mean that the movie talked down to its audience in any way. It wasn't childish or silly. But the movie was a fable, and fables are meant to be simple, straightforward, and they ask their audience to believe, without question or hesitation. And that is what this movie is asking of its audience as well. There are no layers to the story, no surprise twist ending, it is what it says it is and it makes no apologies. Kids are more susceptible to that kind of story, being sucked up into the magic of it all, not questioning the reasons and just being grateful that the world out there may still hold a bit of mystery. Adults are not so easy or forgiving. And I think that hurt this film considerably.
The movie has a surprising amount of humor in it, not the obvious jokey humor but humor much like "Signs" (think of the scene when Mel Gibson walks in the room and sees his two kids and his brother sitting on the bed with tin foil hats on so the aliens wouldn't read their thoughts). Small moments of real life humor that made the movie a joy to watch. The performances were great, Paul Giamatti was outstanding and Bryce Dallas Howard was convincing as an innocent and pure creature. There was a surprising amount of chemistry between the two actors and although this is by no means a love story between two people, I felt a strong sense of desire between the two. The supporting cast was also very good and the location of the film was perfect. The cinematography was beautiful, the score was lovely, the script was great. The story itself was good and among the movie's many cliché's the fable part of it remained original. Many critics complained that the movie was one big ego trip for Shyamalan, that the character he played was written as essentially his own reflection. It's true that Shyamalan casting himself as the writer was a mistake, but it was a mistake because the whole time you're watching him on screen you're thinking to yourself, "That's M. Night Shyamalan, I wonder if he's a good actor". I don't think that by playing the writer he was saying that he contained the character's qualities.
The movie was a little slow in the middle but despite that fact I never stopped enjoying it. I don't think that many people will see this movie and appreciate it like I did, but I don't think many people will hate it as much as the critics either. I say, see it for yourself, don't expect much and you may just end up liking it. Personally the movie has ranked itself fourth in the five Shyamalan movies.
Oh, and I hate when a movie shows trailers for itself and uses some kind of catchy tag line but when you see the movie that line is never spoken. "How many of you are there?", we never found out because Paul never actually asks.
Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, the movie was originally supposed to be a Disney film, but they objected to some content, so it moved to a different studio.
It seems like Shyamalan should have kept the film at Disney.
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