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Lady in the Water (2006)

Back in November I watched M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, Old (2021). It was ok but like a lot of his later films it was no where near in the same league as some of his earlier ones.

In the comments of that post a few of you mentioned one of his movies that I’ve meaning to watch for ages. I decided on Saturday night it was finally time to put it on.

Lady in the Water (2006)

If you haven’t seen this film, it’s a fantasy/mystery/thriller written and directed by Shyamalan that stars Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) among others.

This is what it’s about according to IMDb:

Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep (Giamatti) rescues what he thinks is a young woman (Howard) from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.

This movie has been out long enough for me to know that’s it’s not considered one of the director’s best. Still, I liked the idea of the story, Paul Giamatti is a great actor and I loved Bryce Dallas Howard in Shyamalan’s previous film, The Village (2004) so I remained optimistic.

Sadly I was disappointed.

I didn’t hate it. In fact it started off quite well. I just found the story a little too fanciful and I found some of the subplot, like Giamatti’s character’s history, and the relevance of the other tenants and the parts they played in the over all story a bit pointless and not overly relevant.

The performances from the two main stars are, as you’d expect very good, but the supporting cast…not so much. This is something I’m finding more and more with Shyamalan’s films.

One of the things this movie got criticised for was the “self indulgent” way in which Shyamalan cast himself in one of the supporting roles. To be fair he’s appeared in nearly all of his films to date, from providing narration, to small cameos and larger parts like in this and his latest offering, Old.

It does feel a bit self indulgent here though, especially considering he’s not the greatest actor.

It’s a shame that his films have become so hit and miss. He started off on a great run of movies, initially getting everyone’s attention with the brilliant The Sixth Sense (1999) and it seemed like he was set to become one of the legendary writer/directors. Unfortunately, these days he doesn’t seem to be able to deliver to the same standard he used to. Working in chronological order, this is the first film of his that I haven’t been overly impressed with. His follow up, The Happening (2008) failed to make an impression on me too.

All in all I thought this was an interesting concept that could’ve been implemented much better.

It’s well acted by the two lead actors but sadly even they couldn’t save it for me. I Just found it a bit messy, long and drawn out and unfortunately not worth the 1 hour 50 minutes I spent watching it.

It’s too bad because I honestly thought this one was going to defy the poor reviews and bad ratings I’ve seen it given.

Seen it? Let me know what you think. 👇

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