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Lady In The Water

A Bedtime Story 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Lady In The Water

Director: M. Night. Shyamalan

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban

Lonely apartment superintendent Cleveland Heap (Giammati) has been hearing people swimming in the pool at night and finding long strands of hair clogging up the filters. None of the residents admit to using the pool after hours, but one night he hears splashing and ventures out to confront the culprit. What he finds is a strange naked woman called Story (Howard) living in a small room dug into the bottom of the pool. Story claims to be from another world, one that she cannot return to until she has fulfilled her purpose. The words she uses to describe herself and her world relate to an old fairy tale familiar to one of the families in the apartment building. As events unfold, things keep occurring which force Heap to realise that some stories are true.

The Lady in The Water is the latest film from acclaimed director M. Night. Shyamalan, and falls somewhere between the genres of fantasy and horror. Regarding the horror element, Shymalan continues to display his masterful skill at creating tension by carefully restricting what the audience can see and concentrating more on the reactions of characters. The acting too reflects his ability to get superb performances from his cast, which this time includes himself in a much larger role than his normal cameos.

Where this film falls down somewhat compared to his others is the plot, which is fairly convoluted and has a hard time trying to be both fantastic and realistic. What's more, Story's world is littered with names like Narf and Scrunt which sound a little like they were made up on the spot.

It isn't fair to compare this film to the rest of its creators work. Taken on its own The Lady in The Water is a beautiful and understated film about fairy tales in the real world. Most films are either set in reality or outside of it, but this film presents what would happen if extraordinary things happened in the ordinary world, and it portrays the effect on the characters brilliantly.

This film definitely is a bedtime story, it will leave you uplifted and believing in magic once more. More people should make films like this, they really should.

Nick Grills

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)