July 27th, 2006
Lady in the Water: How Deep Does She
Bryce Dallas Howard in Warner Bros.
Pictures' Lady in the Water -
M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth
Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “Signs,” “The Village”) used to tell
his children a bedtime story every night. The stories always
took place in a mythical kingdom called The Blue World. The
people of The Blue World had some dealings with our world, but
over time we forgot about them. Mr. Shyamalan decided to
remind us about this world in the only way he knows how: a
This fairy tale for adults starts out with a
narrative about the relationship between The Blue World and
Us. Then, it shifts to an apartment community in Philadelphia
called The Cove, where manager/janitor Cleveland Heep, played
by Paul Giamatti (“Sideways” and “Cinderella Man”), has been
trying to disappear among the broken appliances and burned out
light bulbs. After attending to his mundane routine late one
night, he discovers another who’s hiding, in the pool. Her
name is Story, and she is not from around Philly. Story is
played by Bryce Dallas Howard (“The Village” and “Manderlay”)
and she is not allowed to go into much detail about herself,
but she does say she is looking for someone. That person is a
writer and when she contacts said writer, she will act as a
catalyst which will stimulate the person to complete a book
that will eventually lead our world to great changes. Once she
meets this person, she can return to her world. Cleveland must
surmise who amongst the apartment tenants fits that category.
Could it be the new guy in 13 B, Harry Farber, who is a movie
critic? He is played by Bob Balaban (“Gosford Park” and “Best
in Show”). Harry is a know-it-all about movies, plots and
ploys. Maybe it is Mrs. Bell, played by a very unnoticeable
Mary Beth Hurt (“Compromising Positions” and “Interiors”). She
helps stray cats, and she once wrote a book. It could be that
guy on the second floor who’s always doing crossword puzzles.
Before you ask how Cleveland knows so much about Story when
she can't tell him anything, check out the young girl
Young-Soon Choi, played by Cindy Cheung (“Robot Stories”). Her
mother was brought up on tales of The Blue World. Several
tenants of The Cove lend a hand to Cleveland and his mission
to help Story. Some of them even put their lives on the line
because Story has some nasty beings following her and THEY
don't want to help her to get home. By the end of the film,
everyone who has been involved is changes a little and
Cleveland faces not only Story's demons, but his own as well.
The Blonde: Boy, Shyamalan really puts out some
strange, weird, odd, bizarre, really OUT OF THE BOX
stories…which all make him qualified to run for President!
Speaking of which, Mav, didn’t you think Bush’s four-letter
“S” word comment was really out there? I actually didn’t mind
the word as much as I did mind watching him eat with his mouth
full the way he did. Didn’t mother Barb teach him any manners?
Now I found THAT most disturbing! Moving right along…
The Maven: NO! I don’t want to move along. I want to
comment on that, too! The whole world saw the leader of our
country talking with his mouth full. Now, we have to live THAT
down, too! I am so embarrassed! Okay... NOW, you can move
The Blonde: Anyway, “Lady in the Water” was
like a spiritual “Splash” meets “The Never Ending Story” meets
“The Muse” meets “Xanadu.” I think Shyamalan’s real talent is
his uncanny sense of suspense, sense of colors, camera angles,
and framing. He is truly a cinema artist. He loves telling
scary stories that have NO real scare to them, but lead you to
believe it does or eventually might. There was a lot of
spirituality in this film. Unfortunately, most people will not
think about it long enough to understand all the hidden
meaning behind this tale.
The Maven: This is the kind
of movie where you have to buy into the fairy tale or the
movie will seem silly. Let’s face it, this director/writer
likes to make us “BELIEVE him.” He likes to bring eeriness
into everyday situations. This is the story that caused the
rift between Shyamalan and Disney. Head of Disney Nina
Jacobson (who was fired this past week), turned down the
movie. She didn’t like the film critic character and she also
didn’t like him playing the part of Nick. M. Night took the
movie to Warner Brothers, since he felt Disney no longer
The Blonde: I felt this was
Paul’s best performance. He literally leaped into all the
colors of his character. He became Cleveland. Well done, but
great directing as well, Night! I felt all the players were
perfectly cast. Ron Howard’s daughter Bryce seems to fit well
into Night’s characters. I just hope however, she doesn’t
type-cast herself. Speaking of type-casting, once and for all,
people, Oprah is NOT gay! I wish she were for she would be a
fantastic role model for anyone. I love her, so stop picking
on her. She can do no wrong, so just let her be!
Maven: I totally disagree. She is a great role model for black
girls, as she constantly reminds of us that. She is preachy,
hypocritical, full of herself, and loves to promote her own
The Blonde: OKAY, SO ARE YOU ALSO IMPLYING THAT
SHE IS GAY? I totally disagree with you, Mav, on all the
above. It is almost un-American to not like Oprah! I think
that she is an amazing woman!
The Maven: Okay, Blonde,
you are treading on Bill O’Reilly territory. Just because I
disagree doesn’t mean I am un-American!!! I think Oprah does a
lot of good things, but she is not perfect. She is not BARBRA!
That is Streisand, not Walters!
The Blonde: WELL OF
COURSE SHE IS NO BARBRA, BUT WHO IS?! She is still wonderful.
Oh, you are just jealous because you weren’t in the audience
the day she gave away cars!
The Maven: Well, you might
be right about that! About Paul Giamatti, he seems to grow
with every role. I first noticed him in “Private Parts” as
“Pig Vomit.” Since then, he has become a very noticeable
actor. His eyes are especially expressive.
Totally. What I find so remarkable about him is how he picks
characters that are always so uniquely different from each
other. That is something to applaud, as many actors play the
same character over and over because they feel safe doing so.
It is as if they are afraid to stretch their acting skills for
fear of failure.
The Maven: Speaking of failure, I
think it is so sad that young women want fame so badly they
break the ten commandments to do it!
The Blonde: I DID
The Maven: First of all, I SAID YOUNG! I am
referring to the singer wannabe who had an affair with Peter
Cook (Christy Brinkley’s husband) who promised to further her
career. Now she is backpedaling and suing him for sexual
The Blonde: MAN! That is even more
obnoxious than the last comment you just said to me! Poor
Christy. It just goes to show you that all the beauty in the
world doesn’t shield you from pain, suffering and
embarrassment, not to mention, a cheating husband!
Maven: To prove my anger on this matter, I am even mad at the
attorney who took her case. A married man is a married man, no
matter what story he tells you!
The Blonde: Yeah, I’ve
personally heard enough stories to write a book! Speaking of
stories, Cindy Cheung was absolutely delightful in the film.
She added so much mystery to this film as well as a touch of
the much-needed humor.
The Maven: This was a well
made, affectingly acted film. The story is hopeful and sweet.
It fulfills the ultimate goal of entertaining the viewer. I
rate it B+ for its beguiling premise. I thought it was a
pretty story that was brilliantly shot! And Blonde… you are
grossing me out, please close your mouth while you are
munching on the Starbuck's cookie!
The Blonde: Hey, if
Bush can do it, so can I! In closing, “Lady in the Water” is a
most interesting tale that was scary without the scary; let us
say suspenseful. I am not sure this will appeal to the masses.
I believe that unless you are a Knight fan or a very spiritual
person, this film might just be too out there for you. I rate
it a C+. If you do go to this film I suggest for your snacks
that you munch on some Goldfish crackers and some bottled