Lady in the Water Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.