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A tale about stories

Andrew Harley
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
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It’s a story told about a story with a lead character named Story who inspires a retired doctor to begin healing again and a struggling author to write an opus that is prophesied to change the world.I went into the film thinking it would be a dissatisfying flop after reading numerous disappointed reviews and hearing some negative rumors, and emerged pleasantly surprised. For a film that began as a bedtime story between a father (auteur – director, writer, producer and actor – M. Night Shyamalan) and his two daughters, 6 and 9 years old, “Lady In The Water” evolved into a rewarding cinematic experience that smoothly combines mythical plot details with a notably human setting.Shyamalan continues with the bedtime story motif through a Korean family that relays the details to the main character Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) after a “narf,” (Bryce Dallas Howard) not a mermaid, but a sea nymph – like an angel – magically enters his life via the swimming pool at the apartment complex he oversees as a custodian in Philadelphia.Ron Howard’s daughter, the narf, has just enough enigmatic presence to convince an audience that she is a being from an alternate dimension with special powers, and the effects Shyamalan utilizes to create his predator (and later, the majestic savior) pushes her performance toward excellence.Shyamalan is a gifted storyteller; it’s what pushed his early films into the limelight. In past films he has run into problems with inactivity on the screen, poorly timed or chosen humor and occasionally weak character development.He uses little violence in his work because the director prefers the interactive ambiance of a film that builds audience participation rather than simply having a string of calculated atrocities and graphically heightened gore. The desired outcome for this lack of lewd imagery is that it stirs audience creativity; all of the possibilities can be realized in a viewer’s imagination rather than cutting the dream space of a movie down with a bunch of terror for lack of screenplay. He loves laughter, but it’s a delicate balance with what he does – primarily mystery and thriller content.He is a director who goes into a project with a well-developed plan and he gets what he wants. Although, as the movie-going public saw with “The Village,” he doesn’t always make popular movies.”Lady in the Water” kept the audience laughing at the things that were meant to be funny and tense when lives were in jeopardy, but the film did not offer sufficient catharsis at the end considering the quality of the story.Vail, Colorado


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