Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Articles Partners About Us Contest Soundtrack
  Publicity Stills of "Lady in the Water"
(Courtesy from 2006 Warner Bros. Ent.
All Rights Reserved)

Genre: Fantasy
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Freddy Rodriguez, Sarita Choudhury, Jared Harris, Bill Irwin
RunTime: -
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 27 July 2006

Synopsis :

In "Lady in the Water," a story originally conceived by writer-director M. Night Shyamalan for his children, a modest building manager named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues a mysterious young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger and discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home.

Movie Review:

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film “Lady in the Water” is based upon a bedtime story he wrote for his children. It was also directly responsible for his leaving Disney and taking up residence at Warner Bros when they didn’t like his script.

In all honesty, I can’t say Disney was wrong in their assessment. The film bristles with Shyamalan’s ego, some of his artistic decisions, including that of casting himself in a pivotal role as a man who may be the world’s intellectual savior, so absurd they’re almost laughable. There’s much here that’s truly histrionic in its ineptness, and telling the writer-director to consider a rewrite to make things more cohesive and less unintentionally silly wasn’t exactly bad advice.

But for all its faults, the craftsmanship on display and the mysteriously melancholic mood the director effortlessly weaves are so intoxicating; “Lady in the Water” couldn’t help but win me over. Reservations aside, and while I’m sure my sentiments won’t land me anywhere close to the majority of critical opinion, this is one picture where I’m almost glad to be swimming against the metaphorical tide.

Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) manages The Cove apartment complex as if it were a piece of his own extended family. He treats every resident with compassion and care, taking after their needs like an unemotional observer floating around, trying to make their lives better. He’s a loner with a heart of gold, a man seemingly happy to take care of his residents even as his own needs are left collecting dust over next to an unlit fireside. But his secrets are painful; Heep is far more willing to deal with his tenants’ problems that look at the scars hidden by his past.

All that changes when he discovers the mysterious Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) living apparently underneath the complex’s swimming pool. She claims to be some sort of mythological creature called a Narf, sent to The Cove to inspire one of the residents to write a book that could change the direction of humanity. But standing in her way is a vicious, wolf-like animal eager to get her, and if Story’s tale is to be believed than it might just be up to Cleveland to save his new friend from almost certain death.

This is the most flawed part of Shyamalan’s script, since there’s little chance that all of the characters would be so foolish to believe everything Cleveland is telling them, but then again, it’s all part of the experience. Despite the scary creature, this has children’s tale written all over it, and unless you’re ready to succumb to a temporary state of ignorance, you’ll find it’s very hard to enjoy the flick without constantly. The movie even looks like a children’s book, thanks most in part to Christopher Doyle’s brilliant work behind the camera, but it’s the film’s cast that ultimately seals the deal.

Perhaps this is why Giamatti was cast in the main lead. He’s simply impeccable as the good-natured Cleveland, showcasing his talent as one of few actors who can pull off both dramatic and comedic performances in the same role. The more absurd Shyamalan’s script got, the more forceful and mesmerizing Giamatti became. There is a moment late in the film that should never have worked where a silly sermon of comical melodrama nearly broke my heart, Giamatti delivering a cadence of pathos, pain and forgiveness that stirred me all the way to my very soul.

It is at that moment when I knew “Lady in the Water” had me in the palm of its raggedly disheveled hands. Like a fairy tale coming to its climax I can’t wait to see what the man’s next chapter is going to explore.

Movie Rating:

(An enigmatic bedtime story that will stir the child in you)

Review by Lokman B S


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2006, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.