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Lady in the Water (2006) - movie overview

Lady in the Water (2006)

User Rating
(249 votes)
Critic Rating
(6 reviews)
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Plot Description

Release Date
• USA: Jul 21, 2006

Budget USD 75,000,000
BoxOffice: $42.2M

Official Website:
Lady in the Water Website

MPAA Rating
Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.

Running Time
1 hour, 50 minutes

Country USA

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures, Legendary Pictures

Studio Warner Bros.

More info on

Other Titles
• Lady in the Water (2006)

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Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

Tagline: Time is running out for a happy ending.

Plot: Cleveland Heep (PAUL GIAMATTI) has been quietly trying to disappear among the burned-out light bulbs and broken appliances of the Cove apartment complex. But on the night that irrevocably changes his life, Cleveland finds someone else hiding in the mundane routine of the modest building – a mysterious young woman named Story (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD), who has been living in the passageways beneath the building’s swimming pool. Cleveland discovers that Story is actually a “Narf” – a nymph-like character from an epic bedtime story who is being stalked by vicious creatures determined to prevent her from making the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Story’s unique powers of perception reveal the fates of Cleveland’s fellow tenants, whose destinies are tied directly to her own, and they must work together to decipher a series of codes that will unlock the pathway to her freedom. But the window of opportunity for Story to return home is closing rapidly, and the tenants are putting their own lives at great risk to help her. Cleveland will have to face the demons that have followed him to the Cove – and the other tenants must seize the special powers that Story has brought out in them – if they hope to succeed in their daring and dangerous quest to save her world...and

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 External Reviews
external linkThere's probably a cult following that's going to love the film, and laud its spiritual overtones and none-too-subtle redemption motif. To me, however, it felt silly and artificial. When a filmmaker tells a story that transports the audience into an alternate reality, his first objective must be to get the viewers to believe in this world. Shyamalan doesn't do that. He assumes we'll accept it, and that mistake sinks the movie... 1.5/4

external linkNot only Shyamalan's scariest and funniest movie to date, but also his most accomplished, "Lady in the Water" ably tells an original and unconventional fairy tale in a way that makes you want to believe. 8/10
--Edward Douglas (

external in the running for worst film of the year, which is a shame all by itself, but it was made by someone who has gone from genuinely talented (as that gem WIDE AWAKE demonstrated) to petulant, throwing his temper tantrums on the big screen for all to see. 1/5
--Andrea Chase (Killer Movie Reviews)

external linkThat’s not to say that Lady in the Water is a perfect film, it is not. There’s an opening animation that explains the mythology of the fairy tale world that was rather unnecessary, and Shyamalan is honestly not a good enough actor to be playing such a large role. He also sets himself up for criticism for the very role he chooses to play. The ending was far more satisfying than I feared, but at the same time, he uses a similar trick he did with Signs that I found more frustrating than artful. 3/4
--Michael Sheridan (

 Directed by
M. Night Shyamalan
The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Village
 Written by
M. Night Shyamalan
Stuart Little, The Sixth Sense, Signs
Paul Giamatti
Saving Private Ryan, Sideways, Planet of the Apes
Jeffrey Wright
Casino Royale, The Manchurian Candidate, Shaft
Bob Balaban
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Ghost World, Gosford Park
M. Night Shyamalan
Signs, The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, Praying with Anger
Bill Irwin
The Manchurian Candidate, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Igby Goes Down
Jared Harris
Natural Born Killers, Ocean's Twelve, Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Tom Mardirosian
Don Juan DeMarco, Presumed Innocent, Boomerang
 Music By
James Newton Howard
The Sixth Sense, Batman Begins, King Kong

external linkA fairy-tale world exists inside the quotidian but most of the magic remain locked up inside writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's head.
--Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywod Reporter)

external linkBy including this pointless, self-serving aside, and then paying so much attention to it, Shyamalan breaks the spell he was casting, and the film soon stumbles into repetition and lifelessness, eventually leading to a scarily unremarkable conclusion thatdoesn‘t earn any awe or fantasy splendor it was looking to invoke. D+
--Brian Orndorf (

external linkShyamalan might've been onto something if Lady in the Water were, say, a satire of Scientology; instead, it's a mission for a bedtime story, a badly told fairy tale, lacking grace and trying the trust of its audience. 3/10
--Jeffrey Chen (



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