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Movie Review

Lady in the Water

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some frightening sequences

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, Supernatural
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 21, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Paul Giamatti, Freddy Rodriguez, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Sarita Choudhury, Mary Beth Hurt
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Producer: Sam Mercer, Samuel L. Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Co.

“Time is running out for a happy ending.”

For me, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water” was kind of a big deal. Over the past six or seven years, I have witnessed (as have many others) a steady decline in the quality of his films; it’s been a lot like walking down stairs. You start at the top with his first real hit “The Sixth Sense” (although not his first film, he had two others that few people haven’t likely seen). You take a step down, and you find his next film “Unbreakable”. It wasn’t as good as “Sixth Sense”, but it kept you intrigued till the surprising end and was a worthy follow-up to his previous blockbuster hit. Then you take a couple of steps down and you find “Signs”. I know many people who really enjoyed the film, but it never quite got me. I wasn’t scared, or even really interested in the plight of Mel Gibson’s family, and didn’t buy the aliens once they finally showed up.

Despite being disappointed by “Signs”, I held out enormous hope for his next film “The Village” . The trailer alone had me licking my chops to see the film. But, “The Village” disappointed by not just taking us down a few more stairs, but by emphatically jumping off the stairs and trying to break through the floor into the basement below. It was, for me at least, one of the most (to quote my brother) “mind-numbing” movies ever and really made me begin to question just how lucky Shyamalan had gotten with his first two hits. Did he only have two good ones in him? Well, going into “Lady in the Water”, the score was tied 2-2, and I was honestly hoping, despite the early reviews, that Shyamalan would maybe take his new film a few steps back up the stairs.

“Lady in the Water” tells the story of Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), a superintendent of a Philadelphia apartment complex. He does all the usual chores around the building, but also keeps a close watch on the pool, which is right next to his meager apartment. He is a lonely quiet man, no doubt holding on to something from his past, but letting no one close enough to figure it out.

One night, he hears a noise in the pool, and goes out to investigate. He knows someone is in the pool, sees them try to snatch something on a pool chair, but can’t get them to come out. He gives up and begins to head back to his apartment when he slips by the side of the pool (you would think he of all people would know not to run by the pool), knocks his head on the concrete and slips in. He wakes up in his home, under a blanket, and being watched by a woman he has never seen before. She says her name is Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), and right away Cleveland knows something is different about her, but can’t figure out what.

He knows she doesn’t live in his complex, and offers to walk her to wherever she lives, but she says she is scared and falls asleep. While she is sleeping, Cleveland hears her mutter the word “Narf.” He has never heard the word, but, lucky for him (and for the story), a yappy college student (Cindy Cheung) knows the word from a bedtime story she had heard her mother and grandmother tell. Apparently, Narfs are angelic-looking creatures from the “Blue World” who rarely appear on our planet, but when they do, it is usually for some great reason. But there are grassy, wolf-like creatures called Scrunts who will do whatever it takes to kill Narfs, although there is a law that says they can’t on certain nights. I think. But then, Scrunts are scared of the gorilla-hedgehog hybrids called Tartutics that live in the trees and enforce the law. And then there’s something about a great eagle that will swoop down and rescue the Queen Narf, and by this point I had already stopped trying to keep up with the ludicrous details of this bizarre bedtime story.

Honestly, that’s the best way to describe the mythological story here—ludicrous. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I had a hard time believing that a story like this would be passed down through the centuries by people unless they were very, very bored. But, having said that, I expected it to be wacky and absurd from the beginning, so I wasn’t at all surprised to be scratching my head and listening to the laughter coming from the audience at moments in the film where laughter wasn’t intended. The film, though, did hold one big surprise for me. I was actually mildly interested in how the whole mess was going to come together. I started the film expecting it to be preposterous, so, when it was, I kept on watching and began to let myself be interested in spite of its ridiculous nature.

The performances in “Lady in the Water” are passable, I suppose. Giamatti and Howard are fine in their respective roles. I was impressed with Giamatti in particular, as I realized he has a gift for making even the most laughable dialogue (of which this film has plenty) seem slightly convincing. The great Bob Balaban shows up as a book and movie critic whose pompous attitude gets him into trouble. Jeffrey Wright’s talents are wasted as a quiet but knowledgeable man obsessed with crossword puzzles. I enjoyed the performance of Sarita Choudhury, as the kind-hearted sister of the building’s resident writer. That writer is played by M. Night Shyamalan. Normally, Shyamalan gives himself bit parts in all his films, but in “Lady in the Water” he dishes himself a rather substantial role, and it comes across as extremely self-absorbed. I like Shyamalan as an actor, but he is slowly losing points in my book with his obvious attempts to make himself seem more and more important to mankind.

“Lady in the Water” is lacking in most of the content that Christians would find offensive. The language is minimal. I vaguely recall hearing perhaps one or two profanities. Shyamalan’s films rarely contain any strong language, and this is no exception. There is no sexual content or nudity, although at various times in the film it is implied that Story is naked; we only see from her knees down. And for a scary film with evil wolves and murderous monkeys, there isn’t a whole lot of violence. Most of the violent scenes occur off-screen.

There are plenty of frightening moments, which is no doubt why the film obtained its PG-13 rating, so parents should be cautious of letting easily-frightened or impressionable children see this film. Parents who do decide to take their children to see the movie may end up spending more time afterwards trying to explain the story, assuming the children are even interested, which I doubt they will be.

“Lady in the Water” is such a strange movie. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed it more than I did “The Village”, but that isn’t really saying much. Some people may like this movie, but chances are many will leave the theater either laughing at the movie’s absurdity or angry that they wasted their money. Although, as I mentioned earlier, I was slightly interested in how the film would turn out, despite its obvious absurdities, I can in no way recommend; it isn’t really worth your time.

I was not expecting “Lady in the Water” to be in any way like “The Sixth Sense”, nor was I wanting it to be. I like originality and variations, so had it been like “The Sixth Sense”, I would not have liked it either. The fact that “Lady in the Water” wasn’t a horror movie is also not the reason I did not like the film. And, yes, I understand that fairy tales have the right to be out in left field and completely ludicrous, but they have to be entertaining and engaging. In a serious movie like this one, I should never be laughing at scenes for which laughter is not intended. I don’t mind ludicrous, but, for me, “Lady in the Water” was so over the top, and in many cases, far too convenient for me to just brush aside because this film takes itself seriously. I would argue that M. Night (who has proven himself to be a fine director and writer) doesn’t make movies for the fun of it. He takes his movies seriously, which I appreciate. I expect a lot from him, because I know him to be a very smart and gifted writer, and so when one of his movies lets me down, I dislike it more than a movie from which I was expecting nothing.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—Being a fan of M. Night’s work, this film is perhaps his boldest message conveying the same story. Each film seems to have characters who are paralyzed by fear, and quite often just “going through the motions” until events bigger than they can control, come to remind these characters that they are NOT in charge.

Every time, with completely different story lines and details, M. Night seems to give us a story of hope; a story of faith; a thread of inspiration to make us glimpse the truth—that we each DO have a purpose and are NOT worthless. Especially in this film, So many truths could be pulled from it. So many illustrations and metaphors for our lives as Christians. For our need for unity and fellowship.

Not every film he makes can have some “shock value” surprise ending that leaves everyone’s jaw dropped and stunned. That gets old. Instead he has succeeded in bringing us another cleverly crafted story, honest from the begriming that it’s a story. No major twists, no surprises. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it’s sad that so many are going to the theatre hoping for that.

Though the script isn’t perfect and the acting isn’t oscar worthy, he has once again made a touching film that inspires, while leaving it clean and morally inoffensive. That alone is commendable in my book!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Misty Wagner, age 30
Positive—This was the most highly anticipated movie of the year for me seeing as I am a HUGE M. Night fan. My first disagreement with the above reviewer is that I don’t think his movie’s have diminished in quality or effectiveness, and most importantly spiritual and emotional impact. He will never make another “Sixth Sense”, and He shouldn’t. To me, the moral and social implications in “The Village” provided much more of a platform for discussion among Christians and non-Christians than even “Sixth Sense”. All of his movies make me search my heart and soul and provoke me to deep thought and contemplation more than any form of popular art in this modern age. This modern age, where movies, music, etc. are riddled with a cynical, hopeless, faithless, and many times degrading and a morally deplorable mind set. An environment where critics applaud morally and socially bankrupt movies like “Monster’s Ball” and “Running Scared”, but criticize M/Night’s movies for being ludicrous and unbelievable (forgetting that “Lady in the Water” is clearly a fantasy/fairy tale. AND AREN’T FANTASIES AND FAIRY TALE SUPPOSED TO BE OUTRAGEOUS AND LUDICROUS at times-that’s what great imaginative storytellers write.

With all that said, one of my great satisfactions with TLITW was it’s a not so subtle stab at movie critics that just don’t get it. The three things that stood out to me after the first viewing (I will be seeing it again soon) are:
1) The acting: Paul Giamatti is right on mark. The range of his emotions, his stutter (which disappears when Story is around)—everything He did worked for me. Bryce Howard’s performance was not as pivotal or emotional as in “The Village”, but very effective nonetheless. The smaller roles were some of the best acted, especially Bob Balaban as the movie critic, and the Asian mother/daughter team (don’t know the actresses’ names). This was truly an ensemble cast at its best.
2) The cinematography is stunning: maybe the best in all of his movies. And M. Night is at his peak as far as interesting direction/camera angles, perspective, etc. This is a beautiful movie in content and visually.
3) There is no stunning ending like previous M. Night films-instead there is a slowly ascending sense of doom,dread,misdirection, and subtle twists and shocks throughout the 105 minutes. This makes for a better paced film than any of his previous also to me—there was not a dull or unimportant moment.

But the greatest thing about His films to me is the way it sparks hope, faith, and a sense of purpose in everything that happens on this Earth—whether you are a believer or not. And personally, this movie communicates more effectively about our purpose in life than most overtly evangelical films. I realize that most critics (Christian and not) will not agree with my assessment, and many movie-goers won’t either. It’s not a matter though of agreeing with my opinion, but appreciating a work of art that lifts up what is good, pure, and idealistic, instead of what is shallow, titillating, and degrading.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—David P. Momberg, age 44
Positive—A film like this is difficult to condense into a single world. Arguably, it is either going to be loved or hated by its audience, for it seems that when it comes to Shayamalan, there is no middle ground. I found it to be an enthralling, beautifully scripted and deeply touching film at whose core is the message that every human being, no matter how insignificant they feel, have an ultimate purpose, and that our actions cause ripples in the years to come. Tears came to my eyes at the meaningful moments shared between Cleveland and Story, both over the personal loss he had suffered, and when he came to see his value after overcoming disappointment that he was not who she initially believed he was (turns out, he was something much better!).

I left the theatre in a contemplative mood, something rare when it comes to most movies. It was inspirational in the sense that it caused me to wonder what purpose God has for me, in my seemingly insignificant life. One of the characters (ironically played by the director) is given a glimpse of his future, both the horrors and the wonderful things that will come of his work, living proof that mankind cannot see beyond this moment, but our legacy as individuals and as Christians stretch into the centuries to come.

I would highly recommend it, but not for small children—there are some very frightening sequences involving evil creatures from other worlds, attempting to prevent Story from fulfilling her purpose.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Charity Bishop, age 23

Positive—I went to watch “Lady in the Water” despite the bad reviews given by many, many critics. My primary reason for taking the risk was because I’ve always enjoyed M Knights films and especially the moods they evoke in me. I have to admit this time I went in a little tainted, thinking maybe this would be indeed be a stinker. Well, it was not and in fact Lady was a very engaging film.

“Lady in the Water” focuses on an apartment superintendent (Giamatti) who encounters a mythological creature (Howard) living in his complex’s swimming pool. A story unfolds leaving the superintendent with the formidable task of helping the creature return to her home world.

Unlike most of this director’s work, this film seems to be lacking the social or moral statements present in his previous offerings. Of course one could read many types of allegory and symbolism if seeking such meaning. However, I feel “Lady in the Water” is simply a neat 2 hours of expert story crafting.

The film is lacking some of the more stoic and sober stylizations and acting techniques that Shyamalan favors. In “Lady” he instead opted for mostly seriousness infused with more light comedy moments than in his previous work. His characters displayed depth and flavor which can be rare in films with a larger ensemble cast. Giamatti plays the leading character wonderfully with the right mix of emotions and pacing that, remarkably, was not his typical “Giamatti” display. In my opinion Giamatti’s characters have began to all look and sound alike under his interpretation. Here he offered something fresh from any of his previous work.

I believe this story works as a family friendly fairy tale however it is better to leave the smaller and skittish viewers home with a sitter. In my opinion, “Lady” does not offer the type of seat jumping moments from “Signs” and “The Village”, but it has enough tension to make the film stay viable as an “edge of the seater.” Never once did my mind drift and the 110 minutes flew by without any of the sluggishness that can be present in dramatic storytelling. My only objection to the film was the ending. Though complete and somewhat fulfilling it seemed weaker than any other film that Shyamalan has directed thus far. It left me wanting but not in a good way.

On a spiritual level I did not find anything to offend my deep convictions. This film is obviously a modern day fantasy and nothing was evoked that seemed anti-Christian or morally offensive in my opinion. I give “Lady in the Water” a strong 7½ and encourage people to enjoy this extremely entertaining and fanciful movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Lewis McNeely, age 40
Positive—This has got to be one of the most creative inventive movies out this summer. If you are tired of all those same old movies that seem to be bland and repetitive, this is the movie for you. There is nothing at all offensive in this movie. Just don’t bring younger children because some parts of it are scary due to some frightening creatures. No gore at all though. I have to say that M. Night Shyamalan is truly a brilliant guy. He wrote, directed, produced and co-stared in this film. Not as big a blockbuster as Pirates but well worth the money. I will probably see it again!!!…
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Stephanie Swientek, age 18
Positive—This was the first M. Night Shyamalan film I’d ever seen, and I must say, I’m very impressed. This film is very, very good. Not very many immoral qualities to speak of either, other than the mild innuendo and off-screen implied nudity, but that’s pretty much it. Pretty much every element in the story ties together in one way or another. Everything was so extremely well thought out and smart, I was amazed. Way to go Mr. Shyamalan! You really know how to write a good story. Although this movie starts out rather slowly, it quickly picks up it’s pace no to far in. This movie is funny, it has some good thrills (though not as many as I expected), it has a very touching story, and it has some great acting as well from both Bryce Dallas Howard and Paul Giamatti. I must say I felt myself falling in love with Story, the “Lady in the Water” just like Giamatti’s character, Cleveland Heep was during the course of this film. Howard’s performance is absolutely enchanting.

Although it was a bit of a disappointment on thrills, the movie made up for all that with its extremely touching story. How Story could bring out the best in people and even influence a certain character (played by Mr. Shyamalan I might add) to continue writing a book that she said would end up being quite an important book in the future. Also how pretty much everyone involved put aside everything to help out and protect the young narf who is in peril caused by the wolf-like creature that attacks not only her, but others around her as well.

A nice touch was the arrogant movie critic character. Goes to show how many movie critics are these days. I loved when the creature killed him. It was actually kind of funny how it was done. How he said “this is just like a horror movie.” I chuckled at how he predicted what would happen to himself based upon the lack of originality in movies these days. Boy was he wrong! Anyway’s, this movie, though seemly a fairy tale/bedtime story is one of the most pleasant surprises for me so far this year. I may actually see it again in the theatre. But, if even if I don’t, I already know I’m getting the DVD when it comes out. It’s that good.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Matthew Rozier, age 19
Positive—I was very happy with this movie. …I got the same sense of awe as when I first saw “The Sixth Sense”. Great, original story. Clean dialogue/content. Small kids might be bit spooked by the Skrunt in the film I think. I will definitely be buying this one on DVD. Well done! Not sure where some people are getting the idea M. Night Shyamalan is making himself out to be something great though. Looking too much into it in my opinion.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Andrew Lopez, age 24
Positive—I felt this was a smart movie. It has humor, suspense, wonderful characters and a good message. Their are references to God in a positive nature. It is not what it appears to be in the previews. My 12 year old son wanted to see this film, and now that I have seen it, I feel he could easily watch it. There is virtually no swearing or sexual references. I do feel the message might be lost to anyone younger than 14, but it would depend on the child. There are a few scary parts, and frightening animal characters, but not comparable to “Lord of The Rings” or “Pirates of the Caribbean”. This would be a great movie for college students to watch and write an essay on. Thought provoking.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Debbie, age 48
Positive—After seeing the latest in Shyamalan’s films, I am once again impressed. Yes, this film has it’s share of wildly fantastical moments that seem to contrast with a “Real World” view, but I think that many of the film’s critics have missed the point. Maybe the movie is supposed to make sense on an instinctual level rather than an intellectual one. The little boy gaining profound revelation from looking at a cabinet full of cereal boxes was a poignant moment, in that the film is about the superior wisdom of child-likeness in the face of circumstances which would “Seem” to require more adult thinking. In other words, unless one becomes as a little child, they can’t inherit the passion and meaning of the story.

Ironically, the only character to get killed in the film was someone who was so rational and cerebral that his critical, extreme intellectualism ended up being the very thing that got him killed. He just rationalized to himself in the face of the approaching monster until it finally pounced on him and killed him. Reminding me of the attitude some take regarding the spiritual reality. Rationalizing it away, until it finally pounces on them and shows them what is truly real.

Yes, there will be those who either love or hate it. I for one loved it. I got a lot out of it from a spiritual perspective. We are called “Peculiar People” as believers in Christ. But, even though we are far more than we realize, we live just like the tenants in the film’s apartment complex. Just existing. Some dreaming, some hoping, some wishing, some believing. But all stuck in a present world that looks far more mundane than it really is. But then Story comes along and upsets everything. Making them realize that there is a purpose and value to their lives that goes far deeper than they realize. Identities that go beyond the present world into a realm of utter fantastical existence, where only the child-like will thrive.

The decision of Shyamalan to include himself in the film as one who will change the world is in no way offensive to me. I didn’t see it as a sign of arrogance. I actually saw it as a personal confession. He was being vulnerable for us. Opening up his heart and telling us what he desires to be. Kind of like the child that shouts out with no inhibition or fear of misjudgment that he will one day be a police officer, fire-fighter or an astronaut. He will one day make a difference in this world. That is what I took from Shyamalan’s performance in this film.

Spiritually speaking, Story’s story reminds me of our own. Even though to the tenants, she was fantastical and mystical, beyond the realm of routine and normalcy—to herself she wasn’t anything special. Even though she had a purpose so grand that the menace of the film had no reservations about breaking all the rules to kill her, she still could not fathom why she should be so special. But she was. The same is true for us. An enemy seeks us with the purpose to kill, steal and destroy. And Story needed the help of those who would “Believe.” Without them, she could not resist her enemy. But, when they believed—moving past their need to be skeptical for her sake—good things happened.

Technically speaking, “Lady in the Water” is gorgeous. The cinematography was as close to perfect as it can get. The musical themes fit very well, and the sound effects ranged from simply beautiful to brutally terrifying. I won’t spoil the movie. I will just say that I saw a great deal of spiritual revelation from “Lady in the Water”. From an intellectual standpoint, one could find reason to criticize the film. But, from a purely spiritual and instinctual standpoint, there is much here that is valuable. If you go to see it, it may be good to ask the Lord for spiritual insight first, or you very well could leave disappointed. Because, this is one of those films that you need spiritual eyes for, or you could miss the point entirely.

This is not a film for very young children. Especially if they are sensitive to frightening images and implied violence. Because there are some classic horror elements here with a new twist. It could scar young and sensitive children. Be assured that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea. I would be willing to say that most people who see it will probably hate it. So, while I recommend it, I do so advising that unless you can view a film instinctively—“not checking your brain at the door necessarily, just making sure it doesn’t ruin the experience with too much rationalizing,” you will probably not like Shyamalan’s latest effort. For my part, I loved it. …
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Joel, age 32
Positive—The reviewer seems to be expecting every Shyamalan movie to be like “The Sixth Sense” but in fact, I consider “Signs” to have been Shyamalan’s best. I do not expect that all his movies should have twist endings or be classified as horror. Consequently, I was not disappointed with “Lady in the Water”. It is not as good as “Signs” or the “Sixth Sense”, but in many other respects it is a return to form by M. Night. It has his odd sense of humor, fantasy and sci-fi elements, and his unique quality directing style. True, it is slow in parts, but so was “Sixth Sense”. Shyamalan is actually a throwback to the older suspense/horror films which emphasized characters over cheap thrills. So it is with “Lady in the Water”. If you are not a fan of Shyamalan, or prefer action packed wham-bam action, then this is not the movie for you. If you like Shyamalan’s style as seen in his past movies, then this will not disappoint. As for the movie itself. All fairy tales have elements of paganism or the occult, but I do not really consider the movie pagan or occult. It is first and foremost about human beings and their attempt to “find their way in the world.” Everyone is deemed important, even the most insignificant of people. The movie is not Shyamalan’s best, but it ranks third ahead of “Unbreakable” and “The Village”.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—David C., age 39
Positive—I actually really enjoyed this movie. Since it is based on a bedtime story created by Shyamalan, though, you have to go into it with an open mind. There is no bad language or inappropriate scenes, and like most of his movies, there are several subtle Biblical references. I love how his movies are so clever and come together so well at the end, and he definitely knows how to make your heart jump without over-doing the suspense.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Margaret Taylor, age 19
Positive—Wow! Where to begin? It’s simple. Pack your fam into the minivan and go see Shyamalan’s new flick! I agree with the some of the other reviewers—this film is pretty clean. I too counted two instances of bad language. I can’t recollect any blood whatsoever. The Lady of the Story, Story, is seen in little more than a button-down t-shirt or a towel most of the time, but it’s nothing provocative. The issue of her “choice” of clothing or lack thereof, whichever you prefer, is handled tastefully, and it’s nothing that detracts from the movie nor the “take-your-whole-fam-to-see-this-flick” I’m so adamant about. Story is a creature of the water—that’s just the fact of the matter.

Okay, our lead and hero of the film, Mr. Heep (Paul Giamatti), is full of personality. He carries this film and makes it rather amusing. I found myself chuckling at just about anything he did. What a great guy! And you know what? It’s about time M. Night Shyamalan threw himself into the movie. Literally. He’s got a substantial role this time around, and it suits him well. Some of the fx are rather sub par (nice throwback to the glossy aliens as seen in Signs) and maybe the dialogue is a little kinky, but hey, I liked it! Shyamalan tells a story through his characters and visuals are a side item. A tool, nothing more. It’s rather inventive really. Big flicks like the newer Star Wars films seem to have lost sight of that. Rather than involve us with the characters, the filmmakers deem it necessary to inundate us with computer-generated wizardry. It looks nice on the surface, but as always, too much icing on your cake will make you sick.

What I like about Shyamalan’s work is that he’s very original. Like Tim Burton, he has a unique perspective, a unique way of storytelling and conveying a picture. Not everyone likes his works. I do. His movies stand out in a sea that’s polluted with filth and unoriginality. Granted “Lady in the Water” may not measure up to “Unbreakable” or the “Sixth Sense”, but it’s classy in its own right. Go see it!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Jacob Keenum, age 20
Positive—I thought overall, this movie was good. There was not any real objectionable material in it. I do not know if the writer intended or not, but I found some parallels or analogies to the Christian faith throughout the movie. It was not overt. It may just be me, because my husband didn’t see it until I discussed it with him. Of course, it is fantasy, but then so is Narnia and “Lord of the Rings”. I liked the human drama and variety of characters and how they came together. It was very entertaining. Great dialogue between the characters. Good quality.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Gloria, age 40
Positive—M. Night Shaymalan ceases to amaze me! Although my least favorite of his films is “Unbreakable”. I loved all of his other films. But this one, “Lady in the Water” is by far the most different and unusual of them all. One thing that appreciated in Mr. Shaymalan’s film writing is the cleanness of it all. There is hardly any foul language or anything offensive in the films, including “Lady in the Water”. I really like the message that the film puts out, that in this “world” everyone has special gifts just as Christ has given us our special gifts. Plus, we are all connected in some way or another and that the effects of what happens now will effect what happens in our future! The acting in this film was SUPERB! The moments that are shared between Cleveland and Story/Lady are so moving and you just connect with those two characters. Unlike his other films, there are no freak out moments, although it does get intense with the scrunts trying to attack “Lady” or (her name in the film) Story. The film might be a little scary for some younger viewers, but those able to handle the film, I recommend seeing the film. I just want to know where M. Night Shaymalan comes up with the stories he creates! He is a huge talent in the film world, I give a BIG applause to Mr. Shaymalan!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Ben B., age 23
Positive—This was a great movie. It was very funny, and the audience laughed at all the INTENDED parts. As other reviewers said, it was not meant to be another “Sixth Sense”. It was a great light-hearted comedy/fairy tale, and my husband and I enjoyed it very much! Once again M Night gives us a clean entertaining piece of art!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Angela, age 27
Positive—I thought the movie as a whole was very entertaining. …I think one should see this movie through the eyes of what it was only meant to be: a fairy-tale. I rate this movie to be very simmilar to “The Village”. This movie is definitely not for young children, because of the intensly scary monsters that run about the place. The only things I thought might be offensive to Christians is the fact that the girl from the water is not accustom to wearing clothes and is often seen in just a large oversized shirt. Her legs were the only skin shown in the movie. Also, a monster attacks one of the characters. Although the death of the character is not seen, it is obvious that he is killed. There is a group of guys that seem to be drug users, but no drug references are made and they are only seen smoking cigaretes. A scene of a pool party shows a man drinking and vomiting. There was no bad language, and the main charaters are of good moral standing. One might think that the story is a reference to some New Age philosophy, but I only saw the themes to be similar to the fairy-tales I grew up reading. Overall, I thought the moral of the story was that when people believe in themselves they, with the help of others, can accomplish great things. While definitely not one of Shyamalan’s best movies, it is a must see for his fans.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Shawn, age 27
Positive—…However weird some of it may be, it is suspenseful. …I give a big thumbs up to M. Shyamalan, his work is truly worth the watch. I agree with the reviewer, that you should be careful about taking small children to see his work, simply because it is full of suspense, and can be scary to small children, also they wouldn’t really understand the plots… I make it a point, if the rating is worse than “G” to watch it myself before allowing my children to watch it, simply because our ratings are not as dependable as they used to be. More and more we are seeing things in “PG” movies that used to be in “R” movies. My best advice: Just watch something first if you are not sure about letting your children watch it, no matter what the rating, or review.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Regina, age 35
Positive—This movie was very good and interesting. There were a few jump moments. No swears. No sex. I love how the creater of these fims always adds God in his films! He makes it clear how much we need him in this film. I can’t wait to see what he has next for us!!… This film also had great actors. …There were a lot of funny moments, which kept the film interesting as well. …
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Renee, age 33
Comments from young people
Positive—“Lady in the Water” was one of the cleanest, most positive movies I’ve seen in a long time (and I go to the movies a lot). It had only a handful of mild profanities and God’s name was only misused a couple of times. There was next to no sexual content. The only thing that would be close to sexual content would be the almost nudity (she is only wearing a man’s shirt the whole movie). There was no gore except some scratches. The only bad thing content wise was the drugs. There were a few scenes with some people smoking (presumably pot), but that is all I can remember. Some children shouldn’t be taken to it, because of the scary “scrunts.”

As for the moviemaking quality, the script and plot were excellent, as well as the acting, CG creatures, cinematography, and most notably, the score. The positive message was the cherry on top of this great movie going experience. Go see “Lady in the Water” (but this is my warning to you: Do not go to the theater expecting a horror movie. If you do, you will be sadly disappointed. Go in expecting a fairy tale with some scary scenes.).
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Joe, age 14
Positive—The reason people were disappointed with this movie seems to be due to the fact that they were expecting a horror movie, not a modern day fairy-tale. However, Shyamalan clearly stated that fairy-tale is exactly what it is meant to be, especially since he based it off of a story he told to his two daughters one night. So with these expectations, the movie was excellent and almost as good as his earlier works, and felt reminiscent of “Wide Awake”, his second movie, which was about a boy who searched for GOD’s existence.

I agree with the viewer on content matter, as there really isn’t much objectionable content. The nudity is handled well and tastefully, so the most you ever see is from the knees and down. There are about three mild profane words, and some mild violence that we mostly don’t see. There is a good message that is sent about being able to find your purpose in life, and there are some positive references to GOD as the movie climaxes.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Jonathan, age 15
Positive—I disagree with the individual who reviewed this movie. …Even Shyamalan knows that he’s unpopular with the critics and so he made one of his characters in this film a movie reviewer. And guess who’s the only person to get eaten by the scrunt? This film was weird, granted, but which one of his films isn’t? There was nothing offensive sexually or otherwise that I should warn viewers of.

Shyamalan has never included sexuality in his films and that’s one reason I respect him. As always, his characters are intriguing, deep and the story leaves you in a pensive mood. The only fact that may be of concern is that “Lady in the Water” deals with an eastern myth with mythical creatures. The story demands that we believe these creatures exist and therefore, for the length of the movie, reality is suspended. The reviewer stated that through this movie we are witnessing a “steady decline” in the quality of Shyamalan’s films. I disagree emphatically.

Everyone I’ve talked to loves this movie. We commoners think Shyamalan “is the bomb,” and, in the end, it’s the masses that decide the popularity of a movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Willow, age 17
Positive—…a great movie with no sexual content in no swearing, no blood except when she gets cut, but even on those scenes there was no blood dripping down her leg. There was some smoking and drinking, and there was demonic beings in the movie like the wolves. I recommend children under 10 years of age or children who get scared easy not to see this movie because of the wolves; the director made the wolves very demonic, and they would most likely scare a lot of younger children, so I recommend little children not seeing it, but other than that it is an awesome movie and is completely clean of all sexual and offensive language, and it has a good story line to it.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Ashley, age 16
Positive—I’d just like to say first that, with all due respect to the reviewer’s opinion, I completely disagree with the his comment that this story was ludicrous. It’s not. This is supposed to be a bedtime story. Bedtime stories are not always supposed to make sense. …Now, this movie was, to me, heartwarming and beautiful. It is a story of a young girl and several people finding their purpose in life. We the viewers are caught up in the story and its characters as we watch them grow and discover that they can make a difference. Night Shyamalan is a born story teller. I was amazed by the quality of the film. He did a terrific job and I am still shocked that he was able to get Award Winning actor Paul Giamatti to play the lead. The other actors did very well also. They were perfectly believable and I felt myself being drawn to them. I felt like I knew them. Night’s character was especially touching.

I loved every minute of this film, and it is probably one of my all time favorite movies. “Lady in the Water” was a huge success in my opinion. I will probably watch it again and again. There are a few warnings I should mention, there are a group of guys that smoke pot and drink beer and most of the movie the Lady wears only a shirt and it is implied that she is naked (shown from the knee down) in one part but the scene is not played in a sexual way, it really just shows the Lady’s innocence. A man sees her but looks away and tells her to put something on. A girl in a bikini is shown but she doesn’t fill it out very much. I don’t remember any swear words. “Lady in the Water” is a great movie that I really enjoyed. …
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Isabella R., age 15
Positive—I went to see this movie with high expectations, this being a Shyamalan movie. I was not disappointed. This is a beatiful story, with such a rare quality to it. The camera angles, the scenes, and the amazing music are some of the things that make Shyamalan’s movies different from the rest. There is hardly any cursing and no profanity. Paul Giamitti did an amazing job of portraying Cleveland Heepe. I recommend this movie to teens and mature children. This movie rocks!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Jamey Shelley, age 16