“Can You Please Just Leave The "Story" In The Swimming Pool?!?”
“This Movie Sucks Hairy-Monkey Balls!”
“"Lady In The Water" Is A Story Within A Story, And Goes Inside The Pages Of A History Book, Giving Life And Breath To The Mythical Characters And The Seemingly Ancient Allegories.”
“Anna Ran: Mr. Heep Is A Playa! ”
“"Hi. I'm Cleveland Heep. Welcome To The Cove."”
“Lady In The Water Has Some Interesting Moments, But Fails Because The Story Is So Uninspiring. It Simply Does Not Achieve The Greatness That It Thinks It Deserves.”
Lady in the Water has some interesting moments, but fails because the story is so uninspiring. It simply does not achieve the greatness that it thinks it deserves.
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
Shyamalan's most alienating and self-absorbed project to date.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water is one of the more watchable films of the summer. A folly, true, but watchable.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
This pretentious, humourless (except for a joke-about-a-joke centring on the film critic) movie is breathtaking in its absurdity.
Philip French - Guardian [UK]
Though the result is too idiosyncratic to be regarded as just one more summer-movie whiff, those who see it may feel a need to act like a pool lifeguard and blow the whistle on Shyamalan.
Mike Clark - USA Today
If the ultimate goal is entertainment, then Lady in the Water enthusiastically rises to the task.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
It is possible to wrestle yourself from the movie's hokey ambitions. There is a good chunk of Lady in the Water that is simply too well made and affectingly acted to dismiss as a mere exercise in arrogance.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Shyamalan is mystically assuming that any idea or image that pops into his skull will make a shapely tale, no matter how much cock-and-bull logic he has to invent to Gorilla Glue it together.
Michael Atkinson - Village Voice
The story is so convoluted and ultimately preposterous that you're almost embarrassed by the earnestness of the actors trying to carry it off.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
Murky like the water in the pool, or like Christopher Doyle's cinematography.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
In the end, Shyamalan's stumbling Lady never gives us a reason to believe.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
For weeks the Web has been rich with rumors that Lady in the Water is a dog. The noble truth is that M. Night Shyamalan's new thriller isn't half bad. The awful truth is that it's not really half good, either.
Philip Wuntch - Dallas Morning News
M. Night Shyamalan doesn't have an ego problem. He's just a humble screenwriter and director who makes himself a star of his own movie -- as a character who is a writer, whose words will save the world from despair and destruction.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
Like Splash reworked by a grandiose Sunday-school teacher.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
Just when the story begs for some clean lines and a sense of direction, we get dithering and misdirection and another confused-tenants sequence.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
It's hard to think of a deadlier shotgun marriage than Jacques Tourneur's poetry of absence and Spielbergian uplift, but Shyamalan has patented the combo, adding pretentious camera movements that are peculiarly his own -- even the jokes are pretty solemn.
Jonathan Rosenbaum - Chicago Reader
It's a busy made-up universe -- with rules, rituals, and a deity-tree that could give the Hindu hierarchy a run for its rupee. And it's extremely silly.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Shyamalan is too gifted a filmmaker to waste his time, and ours, on such twaddle. The best thing that could be done with Lady in the Water is to deep-six it and hope that his next project doesn't occur to him over milk and cookies with the kids.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
These days, movie fans have grown accustomed to being force-fed a film's reality, to having it hammered home from first loud frame to last. Lady in the Water offers more subtle submersion, a baptism of soulful quirks and daringly sweet imagination.
Tom Long - Detroit News
As with all of his other films, Lady in the Water offers plenty of grist for after-movie dinner conversations. The film is not without merit, just difficult to figure out. Maybe that's the way Shyamalan wants it.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
Hollywood cannot pollute the ozone with anything more idiotic, contrived, amateurish or sub-mental than Lady in the Water.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Shyamalan has followed The Village with another disappointment -- a ponderous, self-indulgent bedtime tale.
Brian Lowry - Variety
An act of spectacular (if unwitting) self-immolation.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Lady is the height of folly, an endeavor as wrongheaded as The Postman, as foolish as any 'vanity' project of the past 20 years.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is one nutty movie.
Geoff Pevere - Toronto Star
Crazy as this might sound, it turns out that self-indulgent ramblings designed to put your children to sleep are pretty much the opposite of art.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Lady in the Water challenges us to believe in the power of myth. But the big challenge here is surviving the tedium of Shyamalan's meandering inventiveness. What's supposed to be fanciful storytelling is really just audience punishment.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
Lady in the Water marks M. Night Shyamalan's official leap off the deep end. Not everyone agrees on Shyamalan's talent as a filmmaker, but few, up till now, have questioned his sanity.
Dana Stevens - Slate
For the most part, however, Lady in the Water comes across as a movie that's too bad to be good, and not bad enough to be so bad that it's good.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Shyamalan does project genuine menace and suspense into this mundane location, especially in nighttime scenes. But the magic that would transport you from reality into fantasy is missing.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
The premise -- a mystical water nymph living under the swimming pool of a drab apartment complex -- is intriguing, yet the mythology Shyamalan builds around his main characters is forced, pretentious and outright silly at times.
David Germain - Associated Press
The movie is a muddle, burdened with too many characters and a sorry lack of thrills, flair and coherence. Yet Shyamalan's talent is real.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
The tension between his eagerness to please and his resolve to make the film inside his head have resulted, with Lady in the Water, in a major misfire.
Kevin Crust - Los Angeles Times
Once again Shyamalan is a maddening storyteller, by turns inspired and insipid, and he still manages to conjure some odd, unnerving moments.
Luke Goodsell - Empire Magazine Australasia
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Scott A. Mantz - Scott Mantz' Movie Reviews
Frank Wilkins - Frank's Reel Reviews
Gary Dowell - Baltimore City Paper
Peevishly defensive, intransigently personal and serenely indifferent to critical (and audience) reaction
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
While the film's performances are intriguing and the direction tight, Shyamalan's fairytale ends up being more interesting than the actual film.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Gary Susman - Boston Phoenix
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
... to put it bluntly, badly paced and completely trivial, not to mention utterly juvenile.
Steve Biodrowski - ESplatter
This could have made a decent movie but the mythology comes so thick and fast that it mixes to a slurry as you watch.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
What is most annoying about "Lady" is that no one ever considers the possibility that nothing magical is actually occurring.The film starts out silly and just gets sillier.
Brian Holcomb - Beyond Hollywood
While I love where Night's head and heart are at, I think he tried to communicate them in a way that was clumsy, cumbersome, lacking in suspense and menace, and frankly, unexciting.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
Ignore the critics on this movie. Yeah, I am one. Which means I'm telling you to ignore me, too.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
The film is a mess, a ramshackle affair. Its silliness cannot sustain itself.
Jamie Gillies - Apollo Guide
It's a fairy tale that never flies the way it should.
Brian Tallerico - UGO
We get it. We just don't want it. Because this Lady is the Showgirls of fantasy films.
Frank Lovece - Film Journal International
- Irish Times
High on talk-heavy exposition and low on actual scares and thrills . . .
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
A return to storytelling in the first order, "Lady in the Water" is highly recommended.
Michael A. Smith - Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Once the filmmaker spells everything out for us in the first fifteen or twenty minutes, the rest of the plot simply unfolds in a jumbled series of incomprehensible events.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Lady in the Water exposes Hollywood's master of suspense as a wet noodle.
Jason Anderson - CBC.ca Arts
review in Greek
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
El director toca fondo con una fabula para adultos tan ridicula como pretenciosa. Solo Paul Giamatti logra mantener a flote este fiasco.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
It lacks the heart that made you care when you realized Sixth Sense's secret. It lacks the connection with the characters that made Signs' ending feel so triumphant.
Todd Hertz - Christianity Today
I've not been overly impressed with Shyamalan's last few films, but this one is better.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
[Perhaps it's] improvised and protracted, nonsensically and unnecessarily, just for the sake of stringing us along. And, maybe, putting us to sleep.
Roger Ebert - RogerEbert.com
A young woman named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) is rescued from an apartment complex pool and a ferocious creature by building superintendent Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti). Story is a magical narf who must return to the Blue World. The monstrous scrunt h
Roger Tennis - Cinemaclips.com
Lady in the Water sounds wacky but it's mostly just boring.
Mike Sage - Peterborough This Week
Lady in The Water is ludicrous, drowning in its astonishing premise and irritating by its failure to connect on any level
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Guaranteed to have a life long, long after its cinema obituary has been written.
Harry Guerin - RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
Un echec desolant qui avait tout pour ne pas en etre un.
Jean-Francois Vandeuren - Panorama
... Shyamalan tries here to take a storyteller's approach to telling what should be a visual tale, thus violating one of the chief tenets of filmmaking: Show, don't tell.
Kim Voynar - Cinematical
Shyamalan's skill as a director of action (and inaction) finds a really good match in ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle's moody camera fu.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
As a comedy it's hugely optimistic and as a drama it's wonderfully emotional and that we're afforded the opportunity to make the call for one or the other for ourselves makes this a very clever film.
Joe Utichi - FilmFocus
There's no twist in Lady in the Water, but that's not to say it doesn't possess an abundance of cleverness.
Randy Shulman - Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)
There is something enchanting about Shyamalan's childlike wonder at the mysteries of the universe . . .
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
The film could be one that lingers, that gets better upon further reflection and improves upon repeated viewings. But for most, Shyamalan's next film couldn't come too soon.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Michelle Thomas - Future Movies UK
If you place a premium on original vision and creative risk, then there is much pleasure to be had watching a born storyteller juggle more balls than even he can carry.
Ian Freer - Empire Magazine
There are so many things wrong with Lady that there just isn't enough space to go into them here.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Paul Giamatti is superb ... and his performance single-handedly rescues Lady in the Water from one star ignominy. Frankly, you'll marvel at his ability to keep a straight face as he delivers Shyamalan's pretentious dialogue.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
What was [Shyamalan] thinking? This isn't just duff, it's career-threatening catastrophic.
Trevor Johnston - Time Out
I haven't come across a fairy-tale premise calling for such childlike wonder and acceptance since the taxation of trade routes was in dispute and the greedy Trade Federation set up a blockade around the planet Naboo.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
There are some laughs to be had, albeit not always in the right places. A resounding plop.
Stella Papamichael - BBC
It's finally happened--M. Night Shyamalan has lost his damn fool mind.
Ethan Alter - NYC Film Critic
"Lady in the Water" can be summed up thusly: Hook, line and stinker.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
...ultimately feels like the sort of movie that'll improve immeasurably on repeat viewings...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Beautifully made and thoroughly intriguing, but it feels made up as it goes along.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The story isn't exactly watertight, but it has a beautiful warm heart.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
The saddest thing about "Lady in the Water" is that it's more than just a bad movie. It's a career-destroying act of vanity by its director.
Angela Baldassarre - Sympatico.ca
What should be a wondrous excursion into Shyamalan's version of a modern fairy tale is undermined by the writer/director's bitter tone.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
...turns on a convoluted fairy tale and makes a few crucial missteps...yet [also is] an enchanting exploration of storytelling magic.
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Breaks new ground in Shyamalan's cinema of looniness....The present of the movie is never interesting; meanwhile, its past is never illuminated and its future never arrives.
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
Fanciful, whimsical, and delightfully implausible.
Audrey Rock-Richardson - Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)
Never has the evidence been so clear that a once-promising director has gone completely insane, yet seldom has said proof been so all-fired dull.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
The M stands for "miserable" ...
Michael Clawson - West Valley View
Blessed be the filmmakers who take chances with original stories, but just because something's better than The Village and not as bad as most critics say doesn't mean it's good.
Gina Carbone - Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)
It's a dud, at once ridiculous and risible.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
A case study of an increasingly defensive filmmaker falling off the auteurist deep end.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
A watery, ladylike, and extremely tall tale indeed, but one well within the reach of its fine cast (which this time includes its director).
David N. Butterworth - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Have you ever been approached by someone who was really drunk, and they tell you some rambling, incoherent story? Well, that's what watching this movie is like.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
The marketing campaign is superb for this movie: it shows the beauty and the mystery of the story without the actually incredibly complex structure of it...full of magic and beauty.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
I'm inclined to think that we're seeing the expression of an artist who knows he has something to say, but hasn't been able to quite come to terms with what that something is
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Lady would be nothing without the man that rides to her rescue, Paul Giamatti.
Sean O'Connell - Charlotte Weekly
More than anything, Lady in the Water is a work of great hubris--a jaw-dropping exercise in which a populist artist tests his audience's limits. Will they swallow this pill whole or spit it back only halfway down?
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Open to it, and it's engrossing: Funny, scary, unexpectedly poignant.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Shyamalan's latest exercise in foundering pretension may be the silliest movie of all time. Seriously. ... Will someone please lock up this pompous stiff in Johnny Depp's Dead Man's Chest and throw away the key?
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
The director's job is to cast the best available talent in each key role. Shyamalan has done that with Giamatti, Balaban and Jeffrey Wright (as a crossword-puzzle lover). But he took this audience member out of the story by putting himself in.
Larry Ratliff - San Antonio Express-News
'You are all connected... One act can one day affect all,' says Narf, causing us to wonder if the Blue World's mission will become redundant after enough humans watch 'The Lion King' and 'Jurassic Park.'
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
I'm sure it wasn't Night's intention to make a crappy movie, but it's what he has done.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
If Shyamalan is going to use his kids as a focus group for future projects, maybe he should start making movies for Nickelodeon already and stop wasting our time.
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
All throughout it's running time, Lady in the Water tends to make up its rules as it goes along...out of a sheer need for plotting or cleverness.
Bill Gibron - DVD Verdict
Lady is a solipsistic and sour fairy tale that sets out to be about the value of community and magic, but ends up as the director's somber celebration of himself.
Dan Fienberg - Zap2it.com
A bedtime story that succeeds in putting its audience into dreamland well before the tale is finished.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
This is a story that we hope will put the little ones to sleep long before their questions become embarrassing and unanswerable.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Vic Holtreman - ScreenRant
It's thin stuff, stretched out to nearly two hours by Shyamalan's faith in his own abilities, but not much else.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
Mundane, preachy, self-indulgent.
Scott A. Mantz - Entertainment Insiders
A screenplay so eye-rollingly dippy that it plays out like something a bunch of second graders cooked up on a rainy day playing fort in the living room.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
What the hell do I know--I'm a lowly scrunt-bait critic deigning to question the very Vessel of Story.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
not without its magical moments, but you really have to want them.
David Thomas - Filmcritic.com
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
...it seems churlish to resist believing in a movie that's about the power of belief.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Embarrassing. Stupid. Incomprehensible. A mess. Absurd. Fake.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
- Baltimore Sun
Shyamalan will have to settle for another curmudgeonly critic giving him another negative review.
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Once the plot is actually engaged, all it really is, is a basic damsel-in-distress story with a lame stab at magical realism thrown in.
Gary Goldstein - Reel.com
At best, Shyamalan's genius for melding the fantastic with the mundane rivals that of Steven Spielberg or Stephen King, but that gift fails him here.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
The fantastical Lady in the Water, Shyamalan's most wildly imaginative yet obscure work to date, will probably disappoint those looking for that certain Shyamalan je n'sais quoi. Still, you can't fault the guy for being an original
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
Much narrative energy is devoted to the arcane details of the narf mythology, and those familiar with the director's methods grow impatient waiting for the air to clear.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Lady in the Water appears to be a creepy fairy tale, but it's really a psychological thriller. Trouble is, the psychology involves the mindset of its writer-director.
Jon Niccum - Lawrence Journal-World
This isn't nitpicking. Every bit of the tale is as full of holes as a wool sweater at a moth convention, and Shyamalan telegraphs each potential surprise.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Based on a bedtime story the filmmaker told his young daughters, 'Water' will certainly put many moviegoers to sleep. ...an endurance test rather than an ethereal fable.
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
Story's whiter-than-white skin, bloody cuts, color-shifting hair, and need to keep wet make her a bizarre amalgamation of fantasies, alternately "male" and "childish."
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
I enjoyed every moment, from the pictographs that set up the ancient legend to the emotional climax.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Shyamalan has a well-deserved reputation for pulling rabbits out of a hat and calling it magic. It's the talent for doing so that fails him here.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A flaky ego trip disguised as a fairy tale.
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The result is a soggy swamp of nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyahing, its only grace notes are Giamatti's fine, nuanced performance as Heep and Christopher Doyle's handsome cinematography.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
All 'Lady in the Water' lacks is a narrator ending the tale with 'and they lived happily ever after.' This is a Shyamalan flick?
Steve Crum - Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers
I guess the best thing to call this is a "mackrel in the moolight." That means it looks shiny and beautiful, but stinks to high heaven.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
Though originating as a bedtime story for his children, it functions less as a morality tale and more as an egotistical salvo toward his critics.
Mark Collette - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
Turns out those Disney executives who refused to make M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, Lady In The Water, knew exactly what they were doing.
Jane Stevenson - Jam! Movies
M. Night Shyamalan doesn't provide us with a big twist, but he does need a new writer. The movie is silly and funny in the wrong places
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Shyamalan's plodding script spends all its time explaining [its] complex mythology, drowning Lady in the Water in a sea of talkiness.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
A genre-defying, form-snubbing plunge into an overly sentimental, proudly nonsensical world.
Brian Juergens - Bloody Disgusting
You win points for sticking with vision only if the vision adds up, but despite fine imagery by the Hong Kong ace Christopher Doyle, we get trite monsters and cheesy spooks.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
With his work beginning to seem as insular as the communities he's imagining, Shyamalan really needs to try directing someone else's screenplay.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
The story is exceedingly dull; to become involved in it would require not just a suspension of disbelief, but a suspension of mental faculties altogether. [A] bewildering misstep for a director of Shyamalan's caliber.
Kurt Loder - MTV
It is a lovely, sincere movie with a nice message about believing in both otherworldly magic and the more mundane power of a community.
Mary F. Pols - Contra Costa Times
With Lady, it appears as though Shyamalan has completely jumped ship into a pit of egocentrism, and it ain't pretty.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
Neil Miller - Film School Rejects
While Giamatti does yeoman's work in his latest Everyman role, the lady herself is a cipher with zero substance or appeal.
John P. McCarthy - Boxoffice Magazine
It is yet another of Shyamalan's attempts to wade into the deep end of the profundity pool, where not even chlorine can kill the brackish residue of his design.
Bruce Newman - San Jose Mercury News
[S]ome critics are failing to notice that this rather flawed film is set on the shoulders of Paul Giamatti who, with impressive stamina and spirit ... commands our attention more effectively than any other Hollywood leading man could.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
When film historians discuss what happens when a filmmaker of limited talent has a huge success and then goes out of control, this is the movie that will be cited.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Hey, wanting a movie to compute is not the same as resisting fairy-tale eloquence.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Stunningly self-indulgent claptrap
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
The only frightening thing about this horror fantasy film was in how bad it was.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
despite the childlike nature of the story, Lady in the Water will prove too confusing for most kids, which is a shame, since they're also the ones most like to greet that giant-eagle business with something other than a derisive laugh.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
If moviegoers are willing to go with the movie's questionable, sometimes painfully self-conscious flow, Shyamalan's new tale may once again sweep them into his idiosyncratic world.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
The new film by M. Christ Shyamalan.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
The movie makes direct fun of standard Hollywood storytelling conventions, and that's enjoyable. But its utter lack of narrative discipline is just plain amateurish, not subversive.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
In Lady in the Water, Shyamalan's descent into self-parody is complete.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Somebody might want to mention to Shyamalan that taking potshots at critics in films rarely works. Remember Roland Emmerich's lame attack on Siskel and Ebert in his awful reworking of 'Godzilla?'
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
None of this is fun to report from a critic's perspective. I'm a Shyamalan fan who greatly admires what he's trying to do, but Shyamalan's desperate desire to be the next Steven Spielberg has grown painful to witness.
Jeff Shannon - Seattle Times
It's silly. It's just silly, and it's a shame.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Its strange, entrancing, mystical and sometimes frightening events occur in everyday surroundings and elevate the lives of deserving, everyday people.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
The surprise here is that he's created a story mythology for this fantasy/thriller that's so ludicrous and convoluted that it's almost laughable. At times it seems his cast members are making up the story as they go.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Who am I to knock the work of the man who, in his own film, casts himself as a writer whose ideas will inspire a future leader who will save the world -- an artist whose work will not be fully understood in his own time, but only many years later?
Jim Emerson - RogerEbert.com
Dave White - Movies.com
Viewers may see religious implications in the movie, with its messianic mermaid and chlorinated holy water, but it really isn't worthy of such deep analysis.
Lisa Rose - Newark Star-Ledger
Lady is not likely to convert critics who believe Shyamalan is only a one-trick pony. Those willing to risk a dip in this pool, on the other hand, may be refreshed, if not reborn.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
Cobbled together, ramshackle fantastical nonsense.
Dan Jardine - Apollo Guide
Lady in the Water isn't just another disappointment. It's a jaw-dropping catastrophe -- a picture so wrong-headedly intoxicated with itself you view it through an embarrassed haze.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Unless I've totally miscalculated the audience appeal of this stinker, the executives he pummeled in that book are going to look more like astute visionaries than back-stabbing traitors, and should be wearing very big smiles come Monday morning.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Narf, scrunt and tartutic may sound silly, but I was interested in the story. If J.K. Rowling can make up muggle, M. Night can have those three. It's a far more involving than the manufactured tales of Da Vinci scholars.
Fred Topel - Can Magazine
The one prescient thing associated with the soothsaying around his self-appointed savior character is that if he continues along the path he's on now, someone is going to take him out and it won't just be a film critic.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Lady in the Water is unmistakably a setback, as well as a warning to potential detractors. You are, it seems, either with M. Night Shyamalan or against him, and this time I must take up residence in the latter camp.
Scott Foundas - L.A. Weekly
Why should the gifted Shyamalan even waste his time trashing critics? His attitude should be: If they're too cynical to believe, it's their loss.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
I suspect audiences will see Shyamalan's portentous doodle for what it is -- the height of arrogance and a bad night out at the movies.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Any magic lurking in this fairy tale is smothered by Shyamalan's need to play everything straight.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
It's an ambitious mess at best, and the invented mythology is delivered to the viewer with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
John Venable - Supercala.com
M. Night's self-absorption is approaching the level of irritation -- here it has all the subtlety of a brick applied to the head.
David Foucher - EDGE Boston
A tedious, astonishingly irritating march through scene after scene of quasi-Jungian horse flop.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
Not bad, full of odd holes and plot troubles, but rich with beautiful ideas (and dark, shimmery cinematography by the great Christopher Doyle).
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
...Lady in the Water doesn't have even The Village's slim virtues.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
[I]t's easier to appreciate Lady in the Water than it is to embrace it emotionally.... [It] wants us to be sad and hopeful and in awe about a lot of things, but it didn't make me actually feel much of anything.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
For a movie constantly explaining itself, M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water doesn't make a drop of sense.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
A gaping psychic wound, a blood-spattered, pulsating tumor ripped violently from both its creator's head and, more fascinatingly, his heart, then planted onscreen, raw and unfettered, for all to come and see.
Keith Uhlich - Slant Magazine
Concludes with a big 'huh?' that leaves one questioning what the point was.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
Performances are bang-on and characters fascinating right across the board, even Shyamalan's own -- but ultimately Lady in the Water capsizes under the weight of its own goofy story.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Unless he retains the poise and cool that made Sixth Sense stand out so conspicuously amid his body of work, we're not going to care about anything in his head.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
Lady in the Water is not a good movie - not by some mythical 'Shyamalan' standards, but by even the most basic standards of proficiency.
Todd Gilchrist - IGN Movies
If Shyamalan wants to slap around film critics, hey, fine by me; but to sacrifice your entire film to do so reeks of a director who could stand to hear a little more "no" in his life.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
All [Shyamalan's] films, to their credit, have been unswervingly sincere. But the primary problem is that this movie is so earnest, you can't help but gag on it.
Phoebe Flowers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Maybe the theme is that you should try to score some of that stuff Shyamalan must be smoking.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
Pretentious poppycock! Given the expectations of M. Night Shyamalan, it's this summer's most surprising disappointment.
Susan Granger - Modamag.com
There's something exhilarating yet corny about watching all the pieces snap into place, even if you saw the pattern a mile away. It feels like you had to figure out some great mystery, even if M. Night did all the work for you.
- E! Online
When it's over you think: 'Really? That was it?' Maybe that's the twist.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Maybe if M. Night had cast Virginia Madsen as the Lady and filled the pool with a crisp Chardonnay, Paul Giamatti wouldn't have been so thoroughly beached at 'The Cove.'
Richard Horgan - FilmStew.com
Mysterious and sweet. It's scary and it's funny, and it's deeply moving, too. That makes Water a rare exception in terms of cinematic hybrids, but it also represents Shyamalan's best effort since 2000's Unbreakable.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
This creative dream-like summer pic is sure to entertain sci-fi junkies, but will become a big turnoff for many audiences expecting a modern thriller/horror flick with a Shyamalan twist.
Danny Minton - KBTV-NBC (Beaumont, TX)
A spiritual story that challenges us to deeply listen and to let its mysteries work on our hearts and souls until we discover what part is ours to play.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
I just want to punch this movie right in the face.
David Cornelius - eFilmCritic.com
Shyamalan might've been onto something if Lady in the Water were, say, a satire of Scientology; instead, it's a mission for a bedtime story, a badly told fairy tale.
Jeffrey Chen - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
You wonder if Shyamalan has crossed from mere self-regard into actual mental illness.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
You won't see anything else like it this summer, and you'll be really glad about that.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
A well-crafted and well-intentioned misstep.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
. . .a rambling mess that takes 110 minutes and an obscene amount of money all to let Shyamalan live out a revenge fantasy and to obsess over Howard's legs
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
This movie is not as bad as it's being made out to be. But it isn't really good either.
David Poland - Hot Button
The critic in me wants to boo and hiss and cry in disappointment. The 5-year-old in me wants to stand up and applaud.
Alex Sandell - Juicy Cerebellum
entertaining enough for those of us who appreciate magical realism, but I suspect that mainstream audiences will be disappointed by this convoluted and pretentious film.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
Apologists for the categorically inadequate M. Night Shyamalan have their work cut out defending yet another cinematic killjoy from the 'auteur' whose high box office receipts do not reflect the ineptitude of his filmmaking skills.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
I laughed, I cried, I jumped in my seat, I dreamed. It's E.T. all over again.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
Unless you're an M Night Shyamalan fanatic aching to see the writer/director play one of the film's main characters, there's no reason to endure Lady in the Water.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Far-fetched is the kindest thing to say about Lady in the Water, a disjointed and mind-numbing story.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Its official now. The Sixth Sense was a fluke. Shyamalan pompously gives himself the role of 'The Intellectual Future Christ.'
Victoria Alexander - Movie Reviews in Croatian
Silly and sappy ... Shyamalan continues on his steady descent in quality.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
I hated Lady in the Water, but not because Shyamalan took a sophomoric potshot at critics. I hated Lady in the Water because it's...stupid.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Has M. Night Shyamalan lost his damn mind?
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
This misbegotten project is Shyamalan's weakest thriller--senseless, verbose, convoluted. It might be remembered for featuring the director himself as a wannabe writer, and a film critic from hell who complains, there are no original stories left...
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com