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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buoyant
Shyamalan has done for the fantasy / fairy tale what he did for superheros, ghosts and bogeymen in the woods. Kill them stone dead or re-invent them brilliantly and uniquely, depending on what you think of Shyamalan's style. Personally, I agree with brilliant and unique. Squeezing a fantasy world into one Pennsylvania apartment block populated with a menagerie of...
Published on 23 July 2010 by Irwin Winterchest

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better...
This film has been widely condemned and ridiculed, somewhat unfairly in my opinion. Theres a great many worse films around, although thats no excuse in itself. But Night has set the bar high with his previous work so that this film pales compared with his previous work. Thats not to say its a bad film, just dissappointing considering the talent of who made it...
Published on 6 Jun. 2007 by J. Eastick


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better..., 6 Jun. 2007
By 
J. Eastick (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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This film has been widely condemned and ridiculed, somewhat unfairly in my opinion. Theres a great many worse films around, although thats no excuse in itself. But Night has set the bar high with his previous work so that this film pales compared with his previous work. Thats not to say its a bad film, just dissappointing considering the talent of who made it.

The story isn't particularly well-structured and lots of things aren't explained properly and certain themes aren't developed. The story itself is something of a cross between a childrens tale and a redemption story, and trying to be both it doesn't quite do justice to either. To appreciate it you need to suspend your disbelief, and even after that you need to take a leap into believing the entire premise in the first place. However it has been touted as a children's bedtime story and in a touching way its reminiscent of the kind of tales you hear as a child.

All that aside, its a well made film, well-acted and has a wonderful score from James Newton Howard which really adds an emotive feel to the tale. Some of the characters are interesting, some not and some aren't developed enough for us to know (or even care), Paul Giamatti's 'Cleveland' is a nice sympathetic but tragic character and Bryce Dallas Howard is a charming, enigmatic and always pasty sea-nymph. Night casts himself in a major role this time rather than just his usual brief cameos, he does ok but the role he plays may leave you with questions of the man's ego.

Not a film for the constantly cynical amongst us, it is in fact a sentimental tale with a postively redeeming story to it. A good family film perhaps?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buoyant, 23 July 2010
Shyamalan has done for the fantasy / fairy tale what he did for superheros, ghosts and bogeymen in the woods. Kill them stone dead or re-invent them brilliantly and uniquely, depending on what you think of Shyamalan's style. Personally, I agree with brilliant and unique. Squeezing a fantasy world into one Pennsylvania apartment block populated with a menagerie of oddballs, and using that world to show a man coming to terms with grief and loss creates a bizarrely moving experience. The only misstep is the infamous critic mauling, as really this could be taken out of film without being missed and feels like a personal axe being excessively ground. But what the hell, critics get on my nerves too. And Shyamalan casting himself as the messiah? Works for me. His presence and, shall we say, restrained acting style is the icing on the weird cake. And the wonderful Paul Giamatti excels as Cleveland Heep, fighting to make sense of both his past and his narf populated present.

The simplicity of the story and its use of humour avoid it becoming the toe-curlingly pretentious work it could have been. This is Heep's journey through a strange fantasy world where he is eventually able to realize and release his grief. It is a journey the film documents admirably.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Water load of ....... entertainment., 12 Dec. 2011
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Lady in the Water was a film I missed when it came to the cinema. Despite being a huge fan M Night the synopsis didn't inspire me, I'm not really into fairy tales and to me, the plot sounded nonsense. I eventually came across the movie again while browsing Amazon and decided what the heck, give it a go! To be honest I was surprised and enjoyed it immensely. To be fair its not a classic like Sixth Sense or as good as Unbreakable or Signs but to me it was very well acted and wove an intriguing plot that kept me glued right to the end.
I wont go over the story but Paul Giamatti is a wonderful and diverse actor who's character you really care for as he attempts to protect the equally talented Bryce Dallas Howard from invisible supernatural wolf like creatures. M Night also makes an appearance as a side character that is much more significant than his usual cameos. His appearance augments the portfolio of interesting quirky characters that constitute the local community that exist around the communal swimming pool Giamatti cares for. Its vastly interesting and entertaining how the somewhat isolated residents of the flats are drawn together and united as a community with the common goal of protecting Bryce's character.
The type of story and characterisation of the film reminded me of some of Steven King's best books, for example It. By this I don't mean that M Night is ripping off Steven King but the way he develops the characters who unite to help protect the Lady in the Water is carried in out in a simlarly intriguing fashion. None of the characters are super heroes, they all have their own faults and quirks and this is what mmakes the film so interesting.
As with many of M Nights other films they are, in places, humourous, exciting and touching. I would definitely recommend to fans of M Night or viewers who aren't looking for an action and can suspend their belief. If you can do that then consider this movie 4 stars. If you haven't enjoyed M Night's previous films then subtract 2 stars and avoid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of substance over style, 16 Nov. 2014
I always find M Night Shyamalan difficult, even down to spelling and pronunciation. He's made at least one great movie in "The Sixth Sense", one that I apparently alone love in "The Village", some really awful clunkers like "Signs" and "The Last Airbender", and things like "Unbreakable" with a great core idea but terribly executed.

This almost falls into the latter category, not because of a poor story, but simply because the story is so badly let down by the film making.

The acting is universally dull, and the characters look like they're wading through treacle. Some of the filming is almost bad enough to be found camera footage, and the whole thing jolts around rather alarmingly, leaving at least me feeling rather lost on occasion, as if whole swathes have been edited out, leaving a jerky and confusing result.

The best bit of character appears far too late on in a way, when the critic gets into his stride. However, this in more than one way saves the movie.

But at the heart of this is a lovely, glorious fable which does actually survive its abuse, leaving a film I still very much enjoy despite all its faults. I guess if its faults were all corrected, we'd have a Spielberg style vomit express (OMG, that's got me thinking of "ET" parallels in the storyline; please wait while I do throw up) so while I wish MNS had done better with this, I still enjoy what is there, and enjoy longing for that better cut as a what might have been.

If I hadn't loved the underlying story and the Critic, then this would have got two stars at best.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable fantasy fluff, 27 Sept. 2012
This modern fairy-tale is a slight and insubstantial offering and was widely perceived as M.Night Shyamalan's weakest offering, (before he released The Last Airbender [DVD] of course...) Despite a robust cast including the ever reliable Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard, the film struggles to come to life, and doesn't contain enough genuine scares or intrigue to sustain interest for very long.
Shyamalan is known for making fleeting cameos in his own movies, but this time he assigns himself quite a big part - sadly this only serves to weaken the film further, and the end result is a fragmented mess with little to recommend it other than the performances of Giamatti and Howard, plus Shyamalan's usual lushly-textured cinematography.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great mix of fairytale meets signs, 25 Dec. 2006
By 
D. Keenan "David Keenan" (Ipswich) - See all my reviews
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I saw this film a while ago, and am a huge fan of all of M Night's work including signs, unbreakable etc. The film is really different and completely unpredictable. Its a great blend of a fairytale story and a supenseful film all in one as the main character bryce dallas is stalked by a beast that is like a hyena/wolf and can dissapear within the ground and she has to return to the sea before her time is up. I cant explain the story of the film but its a definate must see for all ages! Im buying this when its out!
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 3 May 2007
By 
R. Lander Stow (Ivybridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I wasn't really looking forward to this film due to some of the reviews that I read here, but after watching it I have to say I really enjoyed it.

It brings an old fairy tale to life and is purely a work of fantasy, it's very different from M Night Shyamalan's other films. Yes it is far fetched and wouldn't happen in real life, it is fantasy after all, but if you just go with it it's easy enough to be sucked in and have a great time.

I'd highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good fantasy film, although it isn't very fast paced, it is very intriguing with a great ending.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different, 24 Feb. 2007
By 
Mr. B. Read (UK) - See all my reviews
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M. Night Shyamalan's previous films have all polarised popular opinion, and "Lady In The Water" will certainly be no exception. Set entirely in a Philadelphia condominium, the tale revolves around Story (Dallas Bryce Howard), a Narf or water nymph, who is discovered late at night in a swimming pool by the residence's caretaker, Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti).

What follows is something akin to a fairy-tale, with Story committed to finding a certain person whose life she will touch and who will be of immeasurable importance to the human race during a time of great change in the future.

However, once out of the water, she is vulnerable to attack from the Scrunt, her dog-like nemesis, who is intent on stopping her from achieving her goal. However, as Story is unable to divulge this to anyone, Heep is then left to piece together the puzzle, primarily through the rather cliched device of an old woman whose ancestors used to tell this tale as a bed-time story.

For the first half of the film, where almost all of the screen-time is dominated by Story and Heep (Howard and Giamatti both putting in decent performances), the intrigue and suspense are ably handled by director Shyamalan, at times recalling some of the creepier sequences from his previous films "The Village" and "Signs". The Scrunt creature itself is also suitably menacing and well realised.

Unfortunately, the second half of the film seems to degenerate into a rambling mess that often seems like it is being made up as it goes along. Shyamalan pushes his audience's ability to suspend disbelief to breaking point on several occasions. Some of the dialogue and scenarios offered are reminiscent of small children playing make-believe. If this was intentional, it would have surely worked better with actual children filling the roles

"Lady In The Water" was apparently inspired by a fairy-tale Shyamalan had written for his own children. Certainly, it does contain themes concerning everyone having a purpose in life even in the most mundane of circumstances, and a pertinent anti-war message. However, it is hard to imagine who exactly this film is aimed at. Adult film-goers may find the plot over-simplistic and the resolution anti-climactic, whilst younger viewers may find it confusing and unengaging. Having said that, this film`s greatest redeeming feature is it`s originality which is always commendable even if, as in this case, it`s potential is not fully realised.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best but A Good Story, 2 Oct. 2007
I've liked all of M.Nights films except Unbreakable. I thought the Sixth Sense was pretty scarry because it plays on your fears and sometimes you dont see the ghosts its just creppy noises. Signs in my mind was his best film, although the acting was a bit lousy the same psychological banging noises to scare you instead of just seeing the aliens in the first place. Most people poked holes in the story, like why would the aliens want to harvest us or even come to our planet if they are hurt by water. Well their could be many reasons, but people like that have missed the whole point of the movie. The Village was ok but the trailers for it made it look like a really creepy horror film, instead you get a psycological twist, which dissapointed most people. And finally to lady in the water, ok it probably could have seen better acting and frankly i think M.Night should have stayed with Touchstone pictures and not moved to wanner. But it does feed on a big human fantasy for the world to be more that it is, more magical if you like. And i disagree with the people below its not about good vs evil, its about a magical world coming into modern times to try and change the world. So overall it was a good film not his best but still good.
Looking forward to his next film The Happening, coming summer 2008
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like feel good fantasy films..., 6 Feb. 2007
... then this is for you.

If you like films with lots of special effects, twists or an intricate plot then this isn't for you.

It's essentially a tale about different querky personalities living in an appartment block who must all work together to return a water spirit to her home. (Yes - you will need to suspend your belief while watching the film but the director makes it easy for you to do this.) I thought the character development of the bit part characters was done well given the short space of time the director had with the multiple characters.

I really liked it but can understand some of the negative comments that it has attracted as this isn't a film that you get nowadays - a simple plot elegantly told on screen that draws you in and leaves you with a simple feeling of satisfaction having watched it.
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Lady in the Water [HD DVD] [2006] [US Import]
Lady in the Water [HD DVD] [2006] [US Import] by M. Night Shyamalan (HD DVD - 2006)
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