Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan
Of all M. Night Shyamalan’s movies this one seems to be the most hated and that is totally understandable. I think Shyamalan gets a bad rap because everybody goes in expecting something different and that isn’t his fault at all. It’s the studios fault for how they market his movies, and a lot of it has to do with The Sixth Sense because everybody is looking for that same kind of shocker at the end. This is the wrong way to enter his movies though. His films are about human nature more than anything else, set on a strange platform that gives people the wrong impression. This movie is about a fairy tale come to life, but it isn’t really about that fairy tale at all. This movie is about loss and purpose. It’s about a man lost in the world with nothing left but the next day and the jobs to keep him busy. He is a man in secret pain and going forward only because he doesn’t know what else to do. The lady in the water is simply someone who makes him realize he still matters and gives him a place in the world again.
When I saw this movie for the first time I was in a difficult place in life. I felt lost and without purpose myself and when I saw this movie it brought me to tears and understanding. In the strangest way it gave me hope and the strength to keep going. In some certain ways I am still here today because this movie gave me a reason to think that there was still purpose in life. I don’t mean that anything about the Narf story or any of the fairy tale stuff in the movie moved me but this show of raw emotion did. I felt this characters pain and related to it, seeing him find his own purpose in life was so motivating for me and did something to me that I can’t quite put into words.
This movie was nominated for multiple Razzie awards and actually won two. Razzie Awards of course being the awards given to the worst movies of the year and again, I think it is understandable why it was nominated and even won. Looking at this movie on the surface it does come across as really stupid. You have to look past the surface in Shyamalan movies though, and nobody ever wants to do that. Nobody wants to see the meaning within his movies they only want to “see dead people.” Shyamalan instantly became on of the biggest names in the business after he burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense. It was a great starting point for his career but it really just set the bar too high for his viewers. There is an audience out there for this guys movies, I naturally include myself in it, but they aren’t the ones who he needs to impress to continue being successful. The mass movie audience wants another shocker like the one they saw at the end of his first movie. Those shockers haven’t been there because his movies aren’t there to shock, they are there to showcase the qualities that make us human. Love and bravery(The Village), faith and forgiveness (Signs), good vs. evil (Unbreakable), or as we see in this movie loss and purpose in life. If you would like to read our review of The Happening just click here. The Happening seemed to be nearly as hated as this movie but not quite. It was enough to make the studio crack down on Shyamalan though as his next film, Devil, was made by a different director. I did not see The Last Airbender but refuse to take anybody else’s word for it. I do not know any other Shyamalan fans and I cannot trust their opinions without seeing for myself. This summer he has a new movie coming out that I am really looking forward to. After Earth features Will Smith and his son Jaden as a father son duo trying to survive on our planet that is now uninhabited by human and very dangerous. Seems like a much bigger budget movie than he usually does and I am excited by those possibilities. No doubt most of the people that watch it will probably hate it but I insist you will have to look deeper to get the real meaning of the film. M. Night Shyamalan, if you are out there, don’t listen to the haters man. I get what you do and appreciate all the films you make. The Village is one of my favorites and I really feel like this movie had a significant impact on my life.
I think Paul Giamatti is an incredible actor who can display a wide range of emotions. His performance in this movie was one I have always related to. He is a character in secret pain and no longer knows what his purpose in life is. He does a great job at a job with no real significance. It might be significant to the people he helps but as he says in the film anybody can do the job he is doing. He may be exceptional at it but there is nothing exceptional about the job or the place he has found himself in life. He needs something he just doesn’t know what. He needs a purpose, he needs to do something to prove to himself that he still matters. It’s why he is so invested in this silly story as it unfolds, it has given him purpose and made him special. Something about seeing this man find his purpose and let go of the pain that has plagued him did something to me the first time I saw it, and it has always given this hated movie so much significance to me personally.
I am a big fan of Bryce Dallas Howard and think she is a terrific actress. I don’t think this was her best role but I think she did really well with it. There is this quality about her performance as Story that reminds me so much of Edward Scissorhands. I think that is appropriate as there are certain similarities to the two characters. They are both beings in the human world for the first time and experiencing for the first time all the little things we take for granted. She has such an emotionless expression all throughout the film too that only adds to that quality.
Shyamalan inserts himself into all his films but in this film we see him take on the largest role to date. I didn’t think it was that bad but as people love to hate this guy it only gave them an open ended opportunity to put him down. He won the Razzie Award for worst supporting actor and I really don’t think it was appropriate. Yeah I can see that he isn’t a professional actor in his performance but I didn’t think he was bad enough to warrant such an award. I think the role he plays in the story is an interesting one. He doesn’t write a book that will influence the world simply one that will influence one specific person who will grow to change the world. I like that idea and admittedly the idea alone made me like his character more.
I consider all criticism of this film to be truthful and honest but I just happen to see it differently. I have explained why and also understand I am in the minority when it comes to Shyamalan films. I think this movie was worth my time but don’t really know that I can honestly say it is worth yours. I have never met another person who enjoyed this movie and I would never recommend it to anyone simply because I don’t expect them to like it as I did. If anybody out there had a reaction to this film similar to mine I would be really interested to hear your opinion on it. I loved the movie, and it would be nice to know I am not the only one that did.
I wonder if anyone will even read this considering we are the only ones left on I the planet that actually like Shyamalan. I don’t know what’s right about us (see what I did there?) but we think he is really intelligent in the stories that he tells. I feel like there are very little original stories out there anymore. I feel like he does that. I think that most of his movies have been incredibly original and I appreciate that. This one is very original. It’s about a Lady who lives in the water and she is trying to get back to her world. I think it is interesting and a break from reality.
This poster is beautiful. There are so many things going on in the background. In the textures you can see shapes and forms of other things from the story. I love the hidden imagery. On top of that and more importantly to me, the typography is truly terrific. The font choice has serifs that almost flow like water. The W fits in very snugly against the L and “in the” is lightly added. I really love the coloring as well. It makes it all the more fairy-tale like and intriguing.
NEXT MOVIE: The Ladykillers (2004)