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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday magic
I think this is one of the most underrated films of the century. The bad reviews baffle me quite a bit because this has become one of my all time favourites. Lady in the Water reminds us of the magic that we left behind as we grew out of childhood. It shows us that we all have a place in life, no matter how trivial we think it is. This is a fairy tale for grown ups...
Published on January 3, 2010 by Irene L

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A swing . . . and a miss
I've enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's earlier films (despite some flaws), so I'm disappointed to report this one is not in the same league as his previous work. I was aware of his bitter parting of the ways with Disney over this film (which actually increased my interest in seeing it). Despite some bad buzz, I came in wanting to like the film. Now I see why Disney baulked...
Published on November 17, 2007 by erugifog


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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday magic, January 3, 2010
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I think this is one of the most underrated films of the century. The bad reviews baffle me quite a bit because this has become one of my all time favourites. Lady in the Water reminds us of the magic that we left behind as we grew out of childhood. It shows us that we all have a place in life, no matter how trivial we think it is. This is a fairy tale for grown ups.

In addition to being visually stunning in every way, Lady in the Water has just the right balance of action, horror, drama and comedy, supported by a great cast of actors that bring everything to this story.

I am very much moved by this film and it is one of the few that I can watch again and again. If you have just a little fraction left of that innocent, inner child, then you will surely find the magic here as well.
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76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tale Masterpiece, July 26, 2006
I must admit that my children and myself were the only ones in the theatre laughing at the many humorous moments in the movie. I am not sure why everyone was not enjoying themselves and when I got home and read the many critical reviews posted online I began to understand. This movie is not hitting home with a majority of the viewers, and it is too bad because on first viewing it appeared to me to be one of the best modern fairy tales that I have seen. I believe a part of the problem is that the trailer I saw for the film misrepresents it as a horror film. Then I believe many people are unwilling to go along with the fairy tale premise. This is a fairy tale. It is a bedtime story. So sit back relax and enjoy the story. It is a wonderful modern myth that speaks to larger issues of faith and who we are on a personel level. The movie is wonderfully shot, told, and presented. I enjoyed the way the story unfolds and the many very funny scenes. It is difficult to tell this type of story without losing the audience part way through and I felt Shyamalan did a masterful job of holding things together. This was the kind of filmgoing experience I was hoping for from Terry Gilliam's "The Brother's Grimm" but was horribly dissapointed. If you like modern day fairy tales, like good humor and are not easily confused then I would highly recommend this film. From the negative reviews I have seen and the audience I saw the film with, this film is not for everyone, but I found it a real gem.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady in the Water (Widescreen Edition), March 13, 2010
An apartment building superintendent named Cleveland who discovers a magical sea-nymph named Story who's been transported to this world and is living in the building's own swimming pool. As this bizarre revelation sinks in, Cleveland becomes enraptured by her other-worldly charm. As he shelters her in his apartment, other inhabitants of the building begin falling into place as representations of characters from an Eastern myth in which these mermaids, or "narfs," co-exist unhappily with more beastly and violent characters. In human reality, the forces of darkness that threaten the heroes of a fairy tale prove to be much more terrifying, and the victory of good over evil is by no means guaranteed. "Lady in the Water" has a wonderful cast, the script is well written and at times funny, the plot is very simple and straightforward but towards the end of the movie is quite touching. This movie doesn't talk down to its audience but its content is fantastical and fairytale-ish. A grown-up "bedtime story" that is fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable.
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144 of 187 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewitching allegory, August 23, 2006
By 
M. Night Shyamalan doesn't do plain movies. As an artists he has his own unique approach of seeing extraordinary tales in mundane things whether its aliens, mythical beasts, ghosts or a mysterious azure pool. This tale is like no other, perhaps can be thought of as a tale of good and evil, of human purpose, common ground and understanding. When a mysterious pale woman with red hair saves an apartment superintendent, who looked like he gave up upon falling into the pool, simply because he didn't see a purpose to living, she brings hope and a sense of purpose to him and other tenants. Together they try to figure out who she is and why she came into their lives.

Story, is the name of the woman, perhaps those who save the Village, recognize her as the blind brave daughter Ivy Walker, takes on another roles this time as a narf, a word that does not really exist in an English dictionary but a word that takes on meaning by the time the movie ends. She is a fairy like creature that is on a mission and needs help from Cleveland Heep the stuttering superintendent who loses his stutter and finds his true calling. She needs to find a safe passage back to her own world, which is guarded by an evil wolf like beast, invisible to all but those who know how to find it. Together all the characters have to decipher the answers behind what she says and in all reality they have to save the modern world. She tells one of them that he will be a great orator and his book will change the world, cease wars and bring peace, she tells another that he can heal; others learn that they will have profound impact on the feuding life and who will improve life around them if they take the risks and do what she says.

This was a visually stunning and memorable movie, with hair rising music and some really jumpy special effects, especially with the wolf. Yes there are monsters and there are casualties but then there is a sense of purpose, of a mystery coming together brought upon this mysterious creature, who in my interpretation is an angel. She brings hope and love and unites those who sulk and lose their touch. It's a beautiful story that leaves one thinking long after leaving the theater, a story that feeds the soul and feeds a hungry mind ready for something different. It's a fairy tale that leaves one feeling good and light, with hope and understanding of the future. M. Night Shyamalan is such a fantasy wizard that no matter how outrageous his stories are they have a ring to truth about them. I can't wait to see what he cooks up next, for he is fabulous for those who like something special.

- Kasia S.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont let the complaining reviewers govern what movie you like and what movie you dont, December 1, 2006
A Kid's Review
see the movie for yourself. I listened to these 1 star reviews and waited a while to see it. I loved it. All Im saying is, dont just listen to the bad reviews, go out and see it yourself so you can say if YOU liked it or not.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tale enchantment on film!, July 23, 2006
'Shyamalan's latest film is a quirky art film with a fairy tale sensibility. The story revolves around a sad disillusioned man, Cleveland Heep, who has given up everything after the loss of his family. Heep discovers a mystical creature, a narf, in the pool of the apartment complex he manages. Malevolent forces lurk in the gardens around the pool which she must be protected against. Ultimately this magical creature must be restored from whence she came. This quest to save the narf ends up involving many of the oddball yet normal apartment dwellers Heep has come to know over time. In the process of saving this creature, he find his own redemption and possibly hope for the future of our world.

This move has an enchanting storyline with intricate plot twists. The main stars, Paul Giamatti and Bryce Howard, are perfectly cast. Shyamalan plays a small, yet compelling role in the film. The look of the film is unadorned-these are ordinary people pursuing ordinary lives. There is humor and pathos in the lives of these people. Yet, when galvanized by the hope of something out of the ordinary and an opportunity to do good, these "normal" people gather around and give their all. In essence this film shows the magic of the everday.

This is a fairy tale on film-with all the strangeness and skewed logic of the fairy tale world. Not for those who are looking for a slick Hollywood film.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A swing . . . and a miss, November 17, 2007
By 
I've enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's earlier films (despite some flaws), so I'm disappointed to report this one is not in the same league as his previous work. I was aware of his bitter parting of the ways with Disney over this film (which actually increased my interest in seeing it). Despite some bad buzz, I came in wanting to like the film. Now I see why Disney baulked at this.

The story is promising but in serious need of further refinement. Only two characters--the lead (an apartment superintendent played by Paul Giamatti) and the tenant who is a film critic--add anything worthwhile to the movie (the critic's lines in the hallway scene get a chuckle). The sea nymph (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) is a bland and ultimately uninteresting creature. The complete absence of incredulity in every one of the human characters when told what was going on is a major give-me-a-break factor. Finally, Shyamalan should avoid the temptation to cast himself in his own movies. The man needs to have the humility to recognize he is not a gifted actor and lacks the chops for even minor roles in major productions. It's especially apparent when he puts himself next to people who are gifted, like Paul Giamatti, Mel Gibson (Signs) and Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense). It really breaks the fourth wall to see him on the screen.

In a nutshell, this film is a somewhat confusing children's story someone decided to give professional-film-production treatment for which it was not worthy. At its worst moments, it takes on the appearance of a train wreck in progress, with the train being Shyamalan's reputation for delivering hit films. It only narrowly avoids total disaster. The film even lacks Shyamalan's trademark plot twist at the end. The few saving graces here are the acting of Paul Giamatti, some nice creature effects and a small amount of fairytale magic the film manages to conjure up.

Shyamalan says this film grew out of a bedtime story he made up for his children. Perhaps it was the praise his young audience heaped upon it that led him to overlook its shortcomings. Or maybe his string of uninterrupted successes overinflated his self confidence and led him to disregard what proved to be legitimate concerns at Disney. Whatever the reasons for this misfire, he now has a strike against his record. As a fan of his earlier work, I hope he is able to rekindle the old magic and redeem himself in his next film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Undercooked Bedtime Story With an Identity Crisis, April 2, 2012
By 
drqshadow (Bradenton, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lady In The Water (Amazon Instant Video)
A strange effort that aims to capture the innocence and vibrancy of children's fairy tales in a more adult setting. It's intensely repetitive, with a plot that's only advanced via a series of chats with a superstitious old woman, and outright refuses to decide between serious or lighthearted material; both emotions tug at the narrative in a few bizarre, important scenes that just don't work. M. Night Shyamalan has always had a slightly aloof nature to his films that's never felt completely at home with its surroundings, but in the past he's been able to lean back on the immense ambience of his premise and some great cinematography to compensate. Here, with neither of those skills showing their best, his odd idiosyncrasies are lain bare. Casting Bryce Dallas Howard as the titular lady was a smart choice, with her nymphian, otherworldly appearance giving the role a certain validity, but Paul Giamatti is merely okay as the weirdly comical stuttering maintenance man at the root of all the drama. The only other cast member worth mentioning is Shyamalan himself, who climbs into the role of the nonplussed creative genius, destined to indirectly shape and inspire a happy future. Take that for what you will. Lady in the Water has the echoes of a few good ideas reverberating through it, but they're never adequately reined in or solidified. Let's call it below average, and I think that's being pretty generous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One brave little fishy, June 24, 2008
By 
Martial Arts Damsel "sellerd" (Cypress, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
When it comes to M. Night Shyamalan...if you're looking for ..."once upon a time there was a girl/boy they grew up got married and had kids".....forget about it. This man's work ventures on mystery with a twist...mythology with a hint of weird. In short you have to develop a taste for his talent and after you do....you'll enjoy it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Glad I Decided to Ignore the Critics, July 23, 2006
By 
Monkdude (Hampton, Virginia) - See all my reviews
I was going to see this movie on Friday, but after all the bad reviews I decided to wait for the DVD. Well, I was bored on Sunday and Lady in the Water was my best bet to kill some time. Believe it or not, I think this is one of M. Night's best films. It wasn't as confusing as people have said, and Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard turn in fantastic performances. There is humor, drama, and wonder throughout this two hour fantasy. The adults in my theater seemed to like it, though I think most teens will find the film's pacing very slow. I am glad I ignored the bad buzz and witnessed one of my favorite films of the year so far.
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Lady In The Water
Lady In The Water by M. Night Shyamalan
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