Brendan, probably your most lush film so far, with pink skies kissing beach water and silhouetted figures against a playground; sort of this dichotomy between child concerns of play and adult concerns of environment and ending(s).
Rather than Moby-Dick's pursuit of universal abstraction singularized into a white whale (or whatever your interpretation of Melville's text is), Shyamalan seeks the cosmology in our soul—the catharsis after grief, and the forgiveness after ache.
Such a lovely companion piece to The Last Airbender; both use digital work in such an elementally expressive way; both filter abstract emotion through environment. The final confrontation with personified fear-ash sprinkling across volcanic rock-feels like a primal painting.
I somewhat wonder how the *critical* community dismisses so much of Shyamalan's later work but still love The Sixth Sense; they're so thematically similar, like emotional echoes.
A fable breathing with Shyamalan's vulnerabilities, alive in a warm Rear Window-subversion. Here, voyeurism is absent and community is the heartbeat—this film is maybe the fullest expression of Shyamalan's humanism, but also, his fear-laced dreams. Lady in the Water is not a rejection of criticism, but a dismissal of negativity; sincerity and a deep affection for story's gravity are prioritized—arrogant critique is just an evaporating droplet.
Community is essential, and even an apartment complex has the geography of magic, of water promising kindness and mirrors reflecting only love.
"You see light where there is only darkness."
Separation from pain is non-existent; there will always be ache and innocence will always die—but just because it is dark, the light still exists. Shyamalan is such a deeply empathetic human, one who understands trauma's scabs and its isolating manipulativeness. But of course, love can be what a nightmare bows to.
The grey, swallowing fog lit by pockets of yellow and warmed by two hands finding each other in the black. Reality is perception molded by either fear or courage, light bursting from the woods or color buried in the dirt.