Lady in the Water [Monday, Jul. 24, 2006, 5:46 pm]
Saw "Lady in the Water" yesterday. There may be spoilers ahead, but I don't plan on giving away any major plot details. Although most of this probably won't make sense if you haven't seen it.
First of all, I love Paul Giamatti. He was excellent in Cinderella Man, and he was excellent in this. And Bryce Howard just has this mysterious quality about her that really works in a fantasy movie.
Yes, this was definitely fantasy. Not horror. And while I liked it, I found myself questioning whether Night completely succeeded in integrating this fantasy with reality, and the life's lessons he was trying to get accross in the process. I can understand the whole "Narf" and "Scrunt" business, but. . .reading the future off of cereal boxes? That bothered me, for some reason. How exactly does that fit in with the rest of it? It just seemed totally random, while everything else was so planned out.
And, oh man, that hilarious scene with the guy who was only working out half his body - I really thought Night was going to do something deeper with that. Like the combination of water, asthma, and a baseball bat in "Signs." I dunno, I thought maybe he would have to do two things at once later in the movie, and each "side" would have been adequately prepared for it - who knows. Still, I tried not to come into this with too many expectations. I think that's why a lot of people didn't like "The Village" - they were expecting it to be too much like previous movies.
Anyway, I really loved that one scene with Cleveland and Story, where she gives him the reasons why she can't be a leader, and shouldn't have been the Maiden Narf, and he tells her "you were born to lead," or something like that. It was really touching. I really identify with her. I mean, she's this really quiet girl who hides in the shower half the movie, and yet people are rallying around her to save her life. She has importance without feeling the need to earn it.
I love how Night tells us something of worth in each of his movies. It's not just entertainment or thrills. And I wonder if maybe the point he was trying to make here is that we don't have to figure out exactly what our purpose is. I mean, for a large portion of the movie, Cleveland is running around trying to figure out who fits into each of the "roles" that have been given. Who's the healer, who's the guild, who's the guardian? And yet, when it was necessary for the Guardian to be there, he was. It seemed like an accident, but he was there. Cleveland didn't have to find him. Maybe the point is that we can't put the puzzle together ourselves, and bring everyone into the roles they're supposed to be in - because it's not our job. Maybe it's God's job.
And maybe that's not what Night intended it to mean at all. I'm probably reading too much into it because I viewed it from a Christian perspective.
It doesn't sound like this movie is doing as well as some of his others. But I really hope people aren't too hard on it because, despite its faults, there's a lot there. Yeah, it doesn't have any big "twist" at the end, but there's so much to glean from this type of movie, and it's the kind of thing you'll be thinking about and wrestling with long after you walk out of the theater.
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009