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July 25, 2006

"Lady in the water" makes a splash on the big screen

by Johanna Gretschel, Online Managing Editor
M. Night Shyamalan's latest offering once again proves that he is a master of supernatural suspense. However, "Lady in the Water" does deviate from Shyamalan's typical creepy-crawly formula to flirt with the fantasy genre. The movie is essentially a fairy tale set in modern life. As much of a political statement as a bedtime story, "Lady in the Water" enchants and inspires.

The movie begins with a voiceover narrating crude cave drawings, which illustrate man's early relationship with sea people. The voiceover details man's obsession with material wealth that eventually causes the race to forget about the sea people. As a result, the sea people send one of their own in an attempt to save the man from corruption and greed.

Such is the case when Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), superintendent of an apartment complex, "The Cove," ventures upon a young girl (Bryce Dallas Howard), appropriately named Story, in the pool late at night, and his formerly humdrum life is forever changed. He takes her in to discover that she is not an ordinary girl, but a "narf," or sea nymph. However, the residents who inhabit the complex must help Story to return to her world, while a dangerous creature in the darkness attempts to kill her.

The fantastical storyline that Shyamalan weaves in "Lady in the Water" requires the solid performances of a diverse cast to succeed; fortunately, the actors in the film do more than deliver. Though she has very few lines throughout the movie, Story (Howard) appropriately uses her facial expressions communicate all that needs to be said and also contribute to her air of unearthliness and ethereal beauty.

"Lady in the Water" finds solid ground with the help of Giamatti's excellent acting as the awkward and stuttering superintendent. By making his character so realistic and believable, Giamatti acts as a bridge for viewers into the movie. As he slowly starts to realize the reality of his situation and becomes drawn into the supernatural world of narfs, so are viewers. For all of the film's eeriness and creepiness though, there is also plenty of laughs, many of which are provided by the comedic talent of Giamatti. The supporting cast is superb as well, including a convincing role by Shyamalan himself, as Vick, a tenant living with his sister, Anna (Sarita Choudhury).

Of course, as with any self-respecting fairy tale, there is a moral lesson. Subtle but present, an underlying theme of speaking out against injustice and invoking change in government permeates the movie. The narf is sent to earth to inspire man to question the injustice going on in the world. Though the plot of the movie is complicated and confusing at times, the necessity of political activism in a corrupt society is readily apparent. "Lady in the Water"makes children out of its viewers, offering an imaginary salvation for the modern world of wiretapping and war.

"Lady in the Water"(110 minutes, area theaters) is rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.



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  • peruboy89 on July 28, 2006 at 12:14 AM
    dis movie sucked. i cant believe i wasted 9.50 on a ticket to see it
  • amanda on July 31, 2006 at 10:19 PM
    There wasn't enough character development.
  • JOHO'S NUMBER 1 FAN on August 1, 2006 at 9:46 PM
    JOHO, YOU'RE AMAZING. your article is beast. keep up the great work!!!!
  • 08 on August 10, 2006 at 5:59 PM
    yea johanna! good first article
  • EJ on August 14, 2006 at 9:17 PM
    What is it with people finding it cool to say "dis" and "dat" and "u"?

    Good movie, by the way.
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