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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2006!
LADY IN THE WATER, 2006
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Freddy Rodriguez, Jeffery Wright, Bob Balaban, Cindy Cheung
Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.
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M. Night certainly has a unique way of telling stories and he certainly has unique stories to tell. Unfortunately, itís not so much the way he tells the stories, rather itís the stories themselves which make it difficult to suspend disbelief. His ideas draw too much attention to themselves and keep you distracted from becoming absorbed in the film. Lady in the Water and his previous film the Village are testaments to that problem.
It seems that Nightís vision gets in the way, blinding from the applying some sense of practicality to his films. There needs to be some element of believability in them, but in Lady in the Water, there is nothing relatable. Thatís not to say all films are made with some way for the audience to connect to it, no, but they can suspend disbelief. You canít do that in Nightís film. Itís just absolutely ridiculous and hard to take seriously.
A superintendent with a stutter discovers a young woman in the apartment pool swimming late at night. When he tries to rescue her from what looks like a coyote or wolf, he realizes that the woman is not human, but actually a nymph, one from fairytale stories. From that point on, he must try to find a way to get her back home before the wolf like creatures finds and kills her.
I admire Nightís attempt to tell a different story, one that is unlike any told in film. But there is just too happening that it makes it difficult to completely appreciate what Night is trying to accomplish. He creates a film thatís not compelling, engaging or even remotely interesting. Rather itís frustrating, convoluted, and lacks heart. Night is certainly sincere in trying to create an entertaining film, but he falls short and hard.
Giamatti does his best with what he has to work with, and itís not much. Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of Ron Howard, is not given much here. She has a few lines and Night tries to convey a subtle romance between Giamatti and Howard, but that too falls short and feels contrived, like the film itself.
I will say this though; Night does a great job at getting your eye to look what he wants you to look at. Through camera techniques Night guides your eye to certain areas of the frame only to later surprise you with information you didnít notice. It works perfectly when he tries to scare, and usually he does, itís just not enough to deliver a compelling film.
Lady in the Water is a bad film. It takes itself too seriously with a premise that is above and beyond our threshold of believability or even understanding. While I admire his attempt to tell an original story, unfortunately, Night falls victim to his own vision and never tells a clear or coherent story.