Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water ★★★★½

84

M. Night Shyamalan's penchant for isolated communities, totems of loss and tragedy, and eccentric, fantastical concepts is given its most inwardly emotional landscape in Lady in the Water. An apartment complex, 'The Cove', is situated as a battleground for Shyamalan's anger - towards the Iraq war, his bruised ego, and his critics - while manifesting as a convoluted, at times cloyingly sincere bedtime story. But there's real pain buried deep down. And Shyamalan, teaming up with famed DP Christopher Doyle, works with his collaborators to bring it all to the surface. It's such a fragile movie. Watching Lady in the Water, it seems to fall apart, again and again, while Shyamalan picks up the scattered pieces and gently glues it back together in the same instance. The film is so personal that its primary function is to be therapeutic. It's not for everyone, clearly, but Shyamalan's formal elegance is imaginative and rigorous, which is more than I can say for 90% of today's studio fare. The performances from Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard often speak louder than words. The connections aren't just physical but a bridge to spiritual reconciliation. A time for healing.

"I love you all, I love you all so much."

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