La Jeune fille de l’eau

Lady in the Water

M. Night Shyamalan :: USA :: 2005 :: 1h49

A fantasy story about a traumatized man hiding from his former life as the guardian of building. One day, he finds a water nymph. Her desire to return to her underwater world is blocked by evil forces who can only be contained through a strict set of rules laying out roles for people to for-fill. The man is challenged to find the people who match these roles which are destined to them. As they take on their roles, the community finds back a worth they did know they had in them. In accepting destiny they accept the way lives have evolved.

The story is, of course, incredulous. The viewer has to accept a lot to be taken along into this fantasy world. The characters who are first set in real life, easily accept the step-over into the realm of fantasy, their weaknesses and insecurities become those of characters in a fantasy world. The realm of the fantasy unfolds with relative ease and little psychological set-back, suggesting the author finds the moral of his tale essential. The moral, is the comforting thought that our mostly insignificant lives could have meaning through a parallel universe. While we spend our time fighting and accumulating material wealth, we are ignoring our mythological destiny.

A challenging statement in the contemporary world, unfortunately too badly worked out to pass on any useful message. Accepting folk tales for reality, as the characters easily do, is not a worthy ambition for Man. The kindness and community spirit of the characters, on the other hand, is a pleasure to watch, but could have been complemented with a more generous helping of humor. You can go in without too much frustration, but expect the movie to be quickly forgotten. That would make it clearly missing the mark of its own pretension. Note that the movie is incorrectly marketed as a type of horror movie through their trailers and website (see below) for what is essentially a children’s tale for adults.


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