Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Review - Lady In The Water (2006)

This is my first stab at a film review but i really enjoyed this film even though it had been given short shrift by film reviewers. For more info see

Lady in the Water is not an overtly political film at all, but I did find it very thought provoking. The plot is basically a real-life fairy tale. A sea nymph, named Story, is living in the pool of an apartment block. She is being hunted by some other-worldly beasts called Scrunts who can hiude themselves in grass surrounding the apartment block and try to stop he completing her task. This is to meet the vessel, a human who after meeting Story will go on to do 'great things', and then she is to return to her world afterwards on the back of an giant eagle.
Paul Giamatti plays Cleveland, the apartment handyman, who inadvertently sees Story and begins trying to piece together the story I've outlined above, which is contained in an old fairy tale which he learns from an elderly Chinese tennant. After Cleveland helps Story acheive her task, something goes wrong and a Scrunt attacks her. Cleveland rescues her, retrieves something to heal her, learning more about the story in the process. Anyway to cut a long story short, he finds out that there are more people that can help Story, ordninary people amongst the tennants and they eventually help Story return to her world.

Now, although the story narrative is highly concerned with certain people having pre-ordained roles there are other narratives that I find particularly interesting. Firstly is the notion of social change that comes into play through the vessel, as I said previously if we ignore the pre-ordained theme, we can see the idea of social change coming through this.
Secondly I like the fact that the apart from Story, all the characters in the film are ordniary people. In a distorted way it shows that ordinary people are capable of great things, plus it gives the film a characterful feeling.
I have to say, I was a fan of M. Night Shymalan's previous films, but I prefer this film to the others which all seemed to revolve around one large plot twist.


Renegade Eye said...

It is funny how M. Night Shymalan is in such disfavor, in the US. That movie was killed by the critics here.

I liked his film "Unbreakable." I didn't see "Lady In The Water" yet.

Dave Marlow said...

Like Ren, "Unbreakable" is a favorite of mine. It ranks #4 on my top 10. I wasn't particularly.. impressed per se with "Lady in the Water" but I also noted some of the themes you picked up on.

The idea that M Night's character would write this book, "The Cookbook" and later some man would do something great with his ideas, even though he would never live to see it, was impacting. What a damning, and simultaneously incredible thought, that after our lifetime people may use what we leave on this earth. Though I usually try and approach films apolitically, because their art ought to be separated from any attempt at editorial, Karl Marx came to mind.