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Lady in the Water (PG-13)

Release Date: July 21st, 2006 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Sarita Choudhury, Cindy Cheung, M. Night Shyamalan, Freddy Rodríguez, Bill Irwin, Mary Beth Hurt, Jared Harris, Tovah Feldshuh.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

BASIC PREMISE: Cleveland (Giamatti), an apartment superintendent, discovers that , Story (Howard), the woman he found in a pool, is part of a fable and must find a way to safely return her to her own supernatural world before it’s too late.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: From the imaginative mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes this enigmatic, complex film which masterfully combines drama, comedy and, of course, mystery/fantasy elements. Lady in the Water takes its time to develop its characters and introduce a crucial fable which Cleveland must decipher in order to save Story from being stuck in the real world. As Cleveland, Paul Giamatti gives a great performance that balances humor with suspenseful drama. The real surprise here, though, is Bryce Dallas Howard who gives an enchanting performance as Story. Also, there’s a great tongue-in-cheek jab at movie critics when Bob Balaban provides plenty of comic relief as a bitter film and book critic who stays at the apartment complex and has plenty to criticize about. There’s one particular resident who seems a bit out of place in this film given his obsession with lifting weights with only one side of his body —he belongs in a Christopher Guest movie, not here. Some scenes feel a bit contrived, but at least they all fit neatly into the big puzzle. Once the CGI creatures immerge, not all of them are interesting or memorable enough. Fortunately, the expert cinematography adds a lot of style to the film. Just like in any Shyamalan film, every character has a particular reason for being there. As tempting as it is, the intricacies of the plot won’t be spoiled here. By paying close attention to all of the details and feeling absorbed by the imaginative, magical plot, it’s easy to be truly engaging and thrilled by this suspenseful, character-driven adventure into the supernatural.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.


IN A NUTSHELL: A remarkable achievement. Imaginative, absorbing and very smart. One of Shyamalan’s most accomplished films.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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