M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an essay called “ON FAIRY-STORIES”. It was Tolkien’s ideas on what fairy tales were and how they can effect, or impact, our lives. He then wrote a story about an artist called “Leaf by Nigel” to illustrate the concepts in the his essay. Having read “On Fairy-Stories“, M. Night’s fairy tale and film, could have been re-titled “Lady by Shyamalan .” You could read this review, or you could just read On Fairy-Stories and then go see the “Lady in the Water”.

What Is It?

As with Shyamalan’s “Signs” and “Unbreakable” this movie is about the genre invading our day to day life. This is a Fantasy Fairy tale. It’s about sea nymphs who inspire people to use there God-given gifts. But there are monsters whom can sometimes hurt the nymphs when they are out of the water. With the bed time story read under the opening credits, the invasion begins. A local apartment foreman/janitor (Paul Giamatti ) discovers a sea nymph named…. “Story“ (Bryce Dallas Howard who played Ivy in The Village) lives in his pool.

How Was It?

In my humble opinion, it was wonderful, with both meanings of the word. The bedtime story itself seems a bit silly at times, but it’s supposed to be something made up by someone’s grandmother. A more sophisticated tale would have taken away from the point of the movie. The characters are fun and interesting, and you learn to care about them very fast. Though many of them represent something, they still come off as real.

Is It Good For Children?

This movie is scary at times, capturing the true dark nature of the “un-Disney-fied” fairy tales. For some children this could inspire bad dreams and the fear of bumps in the lawn. (That’s what the monsters look like when they are hiding.) There is also a teen girl who is, at times, dressed inappropriately. She is not very “alluring” or shown as positive, but is lacking as a positive role model for young girls. We also saw more of the sea nymph’s legs than we needed. Finally, they use God as a cuss word a couple of times.

Though, when the nymph first comes to the Janitors house, he is not sure why a young lady is there, and tells her that he might be old fashion, but he does not want her to spend the night. The above are things to consider, however, it is a good story with a good message.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete break down of what is on the screen.

What About Spiritual Issues?

Spirituality is more at the forefront of things then in “The Village,” but less than “Signs.” Still there is a lot here, and it’s good stuff. The story is something that inspires us to be what God intended. To fight for others; to give over our pain; to grow; and even be sacrificial. There are also a lot of little comments to suggest that God is working in this.

From here on in, all the Spiritual information will be SPOILERS!

The main character was a doctor who gave that up when someone broke into his house and killed his family. He does not share that with anyone. He then finds (and gives) healing by admitting his loss, and his disconnect from God because he saw God in them, not unlike Mel Gibson‘s character in “Signs.”

There are also “Three creatures with one name” who are supposed to live in the trees. They are supposed to stop the monsters that attack nymphs when the monsters break the rules and attack when they are not supposed to. After the Nymph is attacked when she should not be, the creatures do not come. The janitor comments on the lack of justice when the “Three in one” doesn’t help. It turns out that it wasn’t a lack of justice, but that the human characters were not doing what they needed to do and that’s why they did not see the justice come from above. These creatures are though to be evil because they may have killed there parents. All we know about them for sure is that they are the rule keepers. There is also a great character who is exercising half his body. His right arm is 4 inches thicker than his left. He calls himself a scientist and describes working out as his experient. Like many scientists, when you are just looking at the physical world you will only be a half developed human. At the end he finds that there is more than physical strength.

The nymph reveals a list of people who need to be assembled to help her. Their qualities are listed, but the main characters need to figure out who fits each role. They mistake a group of burned out metal heads for the group they needed,What they really needed was a loving group of sisters. So though the group of dead beat friends looked right, they were just a poor substitute for a loving family.

A writer (played by M. Knight Shyamalan himself) is prophesied over. He is told that he should write the book he’s writing because it will inspire people and change the world in positive ways, but that he will be killed for the things he writes in his book. He is left with the decision to be martyred for doing what he is called to do, or to be safe, but not fulfill his calling. There is also a man who lives in a depression, as he only sees the bleak reality in this world, but longs to return to the faith of a child. There is so much to learn in this film.

What Is Your Recommendation?

Like I said in the beginning, read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy Tales.” Go see “Lady in the Water.” Then go out for dinner and have a great conversation about magical stories inspiring us to seek God and His will. This is why I added it to my list of “Must See” movies.

Bonus Question:

If it’s so good, why are all the reviews so bad?

(other than this one of course)

I think there are two reasons.

One, the movie is not about the fairy tale it self but about how we deal with fairytales. So focusing on the fairy tale will cause you to miss the point.

(Just like: most people who didn’t like “Signs” say the stuff about the aliens was dumb. That is because “Signs” is not about the aliens, it’s about the family.)

Two, A minor theme in the film is “People who review movies, by and large, are idiots who don’t understand movies.” It’s a very rare person who can be told something like that and still enjoy what they are watching. Usually it’s only the Christian’s who can have what they believe slammed for 92 minuets and still say they liked the movie.

Of corse, there could also be those who heard the message and actulay grew with the chalenge. But I doubt it.

Did you know that “Citizen Kane,” heralded by the critics and film teachers as the best film ever, opened to bad reviews.

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2 Responses to “M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water”

  1. Christopher’s Top Picks of the Decade (1/1/2000-1/1/2010) « Questionentertainment’s Weblog Says:

    […] M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water […]

  2. Movie Recommendations « Questionentertainment’s Weblog Says:

    […] M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water  (pe) (d) (bl) […]

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