Lady in the Water

Metascore
36

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 36
  2. Negative: 14 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. Shyamalan does project genuine menace and suspense into this mundane location, especially in nighttime scenes. But the magic that would transport you from reality into fantasy is missing.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    60
    There is much pleasure to be had watching a born storyteller juggle more balls than even he can carry.
  3. 58
    The man has gifts -- but acting and, it's increasingly clear, storytelling aren't among them.
  4. What's odd about Lady in the Water is that for all Shyamalan's histrionics, he's overcontrolled.
  5. Shyamalan's most alienating and self-absorbed project to date.
  6. Lady in the Water boasts an eclectic cast - almost entirely squandered.
  7. One of the more watchable films of the summer. A folly, true, but watchable.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    The character played by lead Paul Giamatti is a dead-on Shyamalan protagonist: emotionally distanced and something of a train wreck.
  9. It's hard to think of a deadlier shotgun marriage than Jacques Tourneur's poetry of absence and Spielbergian uplift, but Shyamalan has patented the combo, adding pretentious camera movements that are peculiarly his own--even the jokes are pretty solemn.
  10. 50
    It lacks the simplicity and resonance of classic fairy tales: It's so muddled and belabored, it's hard to imagine the tykes ever staying awake long enough to hear how it all turned out.
  11. Lady, like all of Shyamalan's movies, is a slick production with consistently interesting visuals... But the story is so convoluted and ultimately preposterous that you're almost embarrassed by the earnestness of the actors trying to carry it off.
  12. Has the strengths and weaknesses of a one-man show.
  13. 50
    You leave Lady thinking there are still voices in Shyamalan's head well worth a listen.
  14. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    Unfortunately, this narf's a drag: she talks like a fortune cookie and doesn't really do anything. Still, the multicultural cast is fun, the images have a painterly beauty and there are some beguiling comic touches before the story sinks into a swamp of solemn metaphysical glop.
  15. 42
    Shockingly misconceived, poorly executed effort.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    40
    A ponderous, self-indulgent bedtime tale. Awkwardly positioned, this gloomy gothic fantasy falls well short of horror.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    40
    Lady doesn't work. Although he detonates a few terrific frissons involving the scrunt, the stabs at comedy are lurching and arrant. The spreading of tension from one character to many dilutes the mood. The would-be rapturous Spielbergian ending is on the wussy side.
  18. 40
    There are moments of great beauty throughout (the film was lensed by Wong Kar-Wai cinematographer Christopher Doyle), and Shyamalan's heart is nowhere if not on his sleeve, but even these moments cannot steer Lady in the Water clear of its director's zealously over-earnest pretensions.
  19. 40
    Lady in the Water feels very much like something its author made up as he went along; and, if it weren't so damn weird, it would most certainly put you right to sleep.
  20. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    40
    I will hold against him (Shyamalan) that Lady in the Water isn't scary, that its own inner logic breaks down at countless points along the way, and that its ending is disappointingly literal and just plain stupid. Lady in the Water is, however, funny at times, even intentionally so.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 402 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 51 out of 220
  1. May 6, 2011
    7
    Meh. This movie is a little too heavy-handed for its own good, but if you can forgive that, then it turns out to be a pretty good fairy taleMeh. This movie is a little too heavy-handed for its own good, but if you can forgive that, then it turns out to be a pretty good fairy tale horror-fantasy with some decent scares and laughs. Full Review »
  2. HarvG.
    Oct 19, 2009
    9
    Weird, all the negative reviews. I had a knot in my throat several times in the movie. I can totally understand why someone wouldn't Weird, all the negative reviews. I had a knot in my throat several times in the movie. I can totally understand why someone wouldn't like this movie, but to say M.N.S. can't tell a story is wrong. Full Review »
  3. ShereefE.
    May 8, 2007
    10
    I believe the people reviewing this movie are too sick to understand the truthness of Night's movies. You all seem to judge Night's I believe the people reviewing this movie are too sick to understand the truthness of Night's movies. You all seem to judge Night's movies on the basis of them being Horror movies. BUT THEY ARE NOT HORROR MOVIES!! As some, who may sometimes be able to open their minds to new ideas, may have noticed, all of his films relate to a certain important topic on life: such as religion, self-hate, self-ignorance, society and it's corruption on people, and even politics. If one just looks at the trailer, thinking that Night takes on the Horror genre at full, and runs to watch a movie they hope will present headless ghouls, bloody beasts, gruesome monsters and all the like (IMO this type of horror film is disgusting, and it has evolved in the last 10 years devastatingly, perhaps to keep the people's minds off what is truly horrible in this world), it is only normal that they will be dissapointed. However, if one goes into the Theatre with a clear conscience on his mind, he will soon realise the pureness of the film. This review is not only for The VIllage, but also for all the other Night movies that I feel were undoubtedly underrated, such as The VIllage or Signs. Some people are unable to understand that Night does not undertake the Horror genre as his dominating genre, he simply uses it to spice up his film and make it slightly more enticing and eye-grabbing for the people. And again, one must always remember that the horror genre has moved to heights that were before unimaginable. So to compre Night's horror with these new horrors would be to compare something non-comparable. That is all I have to say. I hope you will take this review seriously, and remember that I am not writing this review in hate towards the mainstream reviews, but simply in anger towards how they rate such movies that do not comply to one genre alone. Peace to you all. Full Review »