Lady in the Water

Release Date: July 21, 2006

Movie of the Day for Monday, January 23, 2006
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On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
39/47 Amanda Jones Pointless and muddy, but managed to entertain me some nevertheless.
64/68 Michael Bentley A well-intentioned fairy tale that devolves into a bumbling, self-indulgent delusion.
153/159 David Mumpower The character of the critic might be the worst of the 2000s to date. Just plain embarrassing.

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M. Night Shyamalan is one of those rare directors whose name means something to a project. Even as his films sharply divide audiences, they almost always get people talking. Shyamalan started with the quiet horror of The Sixth Sense, a Best Picture Academy Award nominee, then moved on to the deeply personal superhero story in Unbreakable. From there, Signs became a summer hit, although The Village seemed to wind up with more naysayers than proponents. Every single one of these films had a twist, and perhaps audiences are finally coming to resent the gimmickry.

Will Shyamalan’s latest project, Lady in the Water, be just another in a long line of films that rely on a trick to achieve its results? On the surface, the movie sounds like Splash, the 1980s Ron Howard film that featured Tom Hanks as a man who finds a mermaid (Daryl Hannah). This time around, we have Everyman Paul Giamatti portraying the superintendent of an apartment building. Like Hanks, he discovers a sea nymph (The Village’s Bryce Dallas Howard). The connection between the two even intensifies when you realize that Ron Howard is Bryce Dallas Howard’s father.

The difference, however, is sure to be the fact that rather than approaching the story as a lighthearted comedy, Lady in the Water will be an atmospheric and creepy thriller. It’s a fascinating idea, too. There are very few instances where sea nymphs and mermaids are dealt with as things of danger (Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatchers being one notable exception). Still, it makes sense that something so foreign might be treated as terrifying rather than fun-loving. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Lady in the Water
Main Cast Bryce Dallas Howard, Paul Giamatti
Director M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter M. Night Shyamalan
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
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