"Lady in the Water"

I recently went to see M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, "Lady in the Water." As I walked out of the theatre, my first reaction was that I had no idea what my first reaction was. I was even somewhat inclined to not like it very much. Once I got back to my apartment, however, and started hashing it out with my roommate, I started to get a better idea of the grande scheme that Shyamalan was working towards. By the next morning, I thought it was one of his best, in some ways, the best.

Unlike most of his films, this one lacked his characteristic plot twist at the end, which I think is one of the main reasons why it was so unpopular. Even the climax (if it can be called that) was little more than a bringing to the surface something that we already knew about, and not a major revelation. It's easy to see how this was originally a children's story because the plot is unusually simple. From what I can tell, it seems that his films have been becoming increasingly less plot based, and more based on thematic elements; in some ways, the underlying message is becoming more clear than the story itself.

I think that the most striking thing about this movie was how he conveyed his perception of mythology. Most artists today seem to have a very superficial, childish view of myths; their idea of making myths accessible to adults is by "modernizing" and depurifying them. Shyamalan does the opposite here by showing how reality is made clearer by looking at it through the eyes of myth and innocence. He also makes the connection between myth and Divine Providence a seamless one, thankfully avoiding the cliché, new-age spiritualism that is usually used for this type of genre. There were other things as well -- humility vs. pride, modesty, childlikeness -- that really put this story on a human level in a way I wouldn't expect from a typical Hollywood film.

Okay, those are my ramblings for the time being. Ciao a tutti!

1 comment:

liv4armani said...

I agree with most of what you said. However, I thought the plot was more directed at howGiambi's character developed and how he interacted with the other characters. Convincing all those people that there was a "narf" naked in his shower really was rather a trick considering his lack of people skills. I also enjoyed a movie that actually was hopeful. Not many movies today end on a completely positive note. So many leave a hint of evil lurking so that they can have a sequal (which usually fails miserably, btw). I think we should see it again, and this time watch for all the symbolism and hidden messages. I agree, I missed the twist at the end, though the movie critic being eaten was rather humorous, though not twistful. Anyway, enough from me:)