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LADY IN THE WATER

This is M Night Shyamalan’s worse reviewed movie. Sadly, I can kind of see why.
I think many of the reviews were harsh more because of M Night himself and not the movie itself, but the movie, while well done and never boring, is very flawed.

Lady In The Water begins with an animated explanation of what we’re about to see. Not bad, but maybe the fact that it’s there warns us that we need that info in order for the movie to make sense to us?
I don’t know. I’m not that analytical.
What follows is apparently a modernized version of a bedtime story Night wrote for his children. It’s a so-so story about people form the water and wolf like creatures made of grass and dirt and um, big tree monkey demon thingys. I have no roblem with those elements if handled well. I love fantasy stuff. The real world sucks. Bring on the Narfs! Strange naked women can use my shower anytime!
But if you’re gonna go out on a limb that way, make sure your tree is a strong one.

Thank God for Paul Giamatti. What a great actor. Here he plays Cleveland Heep, and he’s classic Giamatti, but with a distracting stutter. I truly pity people with stuttering issues. Must be beyond frustrating. Anyway, Giamatti is excellent, and his role here is probably more likable than usual. Very nice.
Bryce Dallas Howard is very good as Story, the Narf…the title character. She captures the innocence and otherworldly-ness the character requires nicely. However I feel the character was rather under written. But at least we got to look at her very pale legs for long periods of time.

One thing that bothers me is that Night puts himself in all his movies.
OK, in and of itself, that doesn’t bother me.
But here he gave himself a pretty big and juicy role. Not that he did it badly. He was OK, and I liked the chemistry between him and his sister, played by Sarita Choudhury. She was very appealing in her role.

Truthfully, the entire cast was great, but I think sorely underused.
Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Bill Irwin…all really good actors that don’t really get to shine at all. And Jared Harris is really wasted in a really small role. He deserves better. Freddie Rodriguez is rather likable as a bizzaro weightlifting fanatic. Nice job. Weird character. VERY weird.

I think Night would be better off just directing a movie.
Or maybe co-writing a movie and directing it.
There’s no shame in not being a great screenwriter. It’s more of a shame to let a movie’s quality suffer from a poor story. Not that LITW has that poor of a story, but I’m just saying…

B

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