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Lady in the Water

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Not to be confused with Lady of the Lake or Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Water
M. Night Shyamalan's first slump and started the downfall of career.
Genre: Fantasy
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced By: Sam Mercer
M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Paul Giamatti
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bob Balaban
Jeffrey Wright
Sarita Choudhury
Freddy Rodriguez
Bill Irwin
Jared Harris
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: July 21, 2006
Runtime: 109 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $70 million
Box Office: $72.8 million
Prequel: The Village
Sequel: The Happening

Lady in the Water is a 2006 American fantasy psychological thriller film written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard. It is the first film not to be made by Disney. The film's plot concerns the superintendent of a Philadelphia apartment complex who discovers a young woman in the swimming pool. Gradually, he and his neighbors learn that she is a water nymph (or Narf) whose life is in danger from a vicious, wolf-like, mystical creature called a Scrunt that tries to keep her from returning to her watery "blue world." It was released on July 21, 2006 by Warner Bros. Pictures.


When Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues an enigmatic young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger, little does he know that she is a character from a bedtime story, who is trying to return to her world. As he falls deeply in love with her, he begins to realize that he and fellow tenants are also characters in the fable, and they must work together to protect her from those who would prevent her from returning home.

Why It Should Be Left In The Water

  1. Warner Bros. Pictures got the director M. Night Shyamalan as part of the main cast, instead of cameo, so he played Vick Ran, who is the critic, which received criticism. This is because he was mad at the critics for giving The Village poor reviews.
  2. Poorly acting to boot, with the exception of Paul Giamatti, who does his damnedest to make the material work (see RQ #1). Everyone else involved is completely stoic, wooden and lifeless, especially Bryce Dallas Howard, whose only purpose is to whisper quote-unquote "poetic" and "deep" dialogue, be carried around by Giamatti, and just scream.
  3. While the cinematography is beautiful, there are times where Shyamalan has Doyle construct shots that have no effort put into them and pointlessly pan towards things for some incomprehensible reason.
  4. Questionable characterization, for example, in the beginning of the film, Vick Ran (Shyamalan's character) held an Indian family trying to kill a cockroach which the family deems as "demonic", which is very disrespectful and insulting towards real Indians.
    • To make matters even worse, Shyamalan himself is Indian, meaning that he disrespected his own country.
  5. Very poor directing of M. Night Shyamalan, where it start the downfall for other movies, until it was saved by The Visit and Split. Not helping that he even ended up winning a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director and Worst Supporting Actor at Golden Raspberry Awards.
  6. It is a really boring and lifeless film for most of the time.
  7. Lousy and weak pacing, with pointless filler.
  8. Lackluster executive with interesting premise.
  9. The plot twist are so dumb and pointless. It was revealed that M. Night Shyamalan's writing has save the world.
  10. The lack of consistency.
  11. Story, although beautiful, has incredibly deep glassy innocent eyes, pale skin, and something seems to always look... off about her. The film poster features her giant face against water and she somewhat looks like an alien.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite the acting were poorly, Paul Giamatti's performance as Cleveland Heep is decent.
  2. The music score by James Newton Howard is considered to be one of the best of M. Night Shyamalan movies.
  3. While it has no effort and pointlessly pan toward things, the cinematography by Christopher Doyle is beautiful for the most part.
  4. Story could be considered very beautiful character, almost ethereal being.


Critical reaction

Lady in the Water received mostly negative response, with criticism revolving around the self-indulgence with which Shyamalan cast himself in the film, the lack of consistency, and the film's characterization. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25% based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 4.30/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 36 out of 100 based on reviews from 36 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B- on scale of A to F. According to Letterboxd, the film earned the score of 2.4/5.

Chris Stuckmann gave this movie a C+ rating.

Box office

Lady in the Water was a financial failure grossing $72 million against a $70 million production budget.



  • The film was originally planned to be produced by Touchstone Pictures—just as Shyamalan's previous four films were released by Walt Disney Studios—but ultimately no deal was reached. Disney executive Nina Jacobson had spoken with Shyamalan about the film's storyline, the idea for which studio chairman Dick Cook didn't understand. Shyamalan was reportedly angry about the response, claiming that Disney "no longer valued individualism". Despite the fact that Disney was willing to completely fund the film regardless, Shyamalan rejected their offer and eventually presented the project to Warner Bros., who agreed to finance the film. The events that led to the making of the film were featured in a book, The Man Who Heard Voices, by Michael Bamberger.

Legendary Pictures


Batman Begins - Superman Returns - Lady in the Water - The Ant Bully - Beerfest - We Are Marshall - 300 - Trick 'r Treat - 10,000 BC - The Dark Knight - Watchmen - Observe and Report - The Hangover - Where the Wild Things Are - Ninja Assassin


Clash of the Titans - Jonah Hex - Inception - The Town - Due Date - Sucker Punch - The Hangover Part II - Wrath of the Titans - The Dark Knight Rises - Jack the Giant Slayer - 42 - The Hangover Part III - Man of Steel - Pacific Rim - 300: Rise of an Empire - Godzilla - As Above, So Below - Dracula Untold - Interstellar - Unbroken - Blackhat - Seventh Son - Jurassic World - Straight Outta Compton - Steve Jobs - Crimson Peak - Krampus - Warcraft - The Great Wall - Kong: Skull Island - Pacific Rim Uprising - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Skyscraper - Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - BlacKkKlansman - Little - Pokémon Detective Pikachu - Godzilla: King of the Monsters


Enola Holmes - Godzilla vs. Kong - ⊃∪∩⪽

M. Night Shyamalan

Praying with Anger - Wide Awake - The Sixth Sense - Unbreakable - Signs - The Village - Lady in the Water - The Happening - The Last Airbender - After Earth - The Visit - Split - Glass - Old

External Links