Last night hubby and I went to see LADY IN THE WATER (a title I keep having trouble with. I want to say LADY IN THE LAKE because of the alliteration, then I remember it wasn’t a lake, so I want to call it LADY IN THE SWIMMING POOL, but that’s definitely verbose, so then I remember “water,” but then I can’t remember if it’s THE LADY or just LADY . . . )
But I digress. I enjoyed it–would give it four out of five stars, but that’s probably because I’m a writer and it seemed fairly literary–I mean you have a woman named STORY who’s looking for a writer. How much more literary can you get? It’s a fantasy, so you have to suspend your disbelief from the get go, and obviously, some of the critics I’ve read had trouble with that. We went despite some truly terrible reviews because we like M. Night Shamalan’s movies.
I love his films in this order: THE SIXTH SENSE was brilliant; ditto for SIGNS (which I’d rate as one of the most theologically correct films I’ve ever seen); LADY IN THE WATER, UNBREAKABLE, and THE VILLAGE.
The latter film was a disappointment. He had us in the palm of his hand until the ending, then I felt cheated. Worse, I felt that the film could be interpreted as a slam against religion/belief. He seemed to be saying that everything we’ve been taught/told is nothing but lies to keep us penned up in ignorance and fear. (I doubt that’s what the man meant to say, but that’s what I took away from the film.)
In any case, LADY IN THE WATER had some lovely “eeek!” moments, a fair bit of humor, and a lot of fantasy elements. Like I said, it requires a quick willing suspension of disbelief, but if you go with him, you’ll be okay. The theme? Everyone has a purpose, and sometimes our first guess is the wrong guess . . .
There’s also a bit about how the power of the printed word can change lives . . . any writer would find that inspirational and challenging.
An aside: I read that some folks tried to dissuade Night from playing the part of the writer–a fairly major part. I have to agree with them. He did a fair job, but I think the part would have been better served by a better actor. There’s a place where someone gives him a bit of distressing news–and Night just accepts it. I think he would have shown more emotion if someone had told him he needed a new carburetor, but that’s just my non-professional opinion.
In any case, I would give it four out of five stars. Not his best, not brilliant, but enjoyable and a sight better than THE VILLAGE. The red-haired actress, BTW, is Ron Howard’s daughter. She’s lovely. An all-around great supporting cast, too.