Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.
HECK YEAH BICEP MAN
_**Moving magical tale at an apartment complex in Philadelphia**_ A superintendent at an apartment building in a suburb of Philadelphia (Paul Giamatti) discovers an innocent redhead in the pool (Bryce Dallas Howard) who needs the assistance of several tenants to escape the creatures that threaten her and her mission. "Lady in the Water" (2006) is a drama/fantasy based on a bedtime story that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan told his kids. Like most Shyamalan pictures there’s a moving reverent ambiance amidst the amusing and sometimes horrific dramatics. It’s very original, coming across as a Shyamalan flick mixed with elements of fantasy movies, like “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). Think about it, “The Wizard of Oz” meshed a family drama with a dreamlike fantasy involving wonder, humor and slight horror along with a profound message, and so does this film (which isn’t to say it’s as effective as “Wizard”). The set of the apartment complex and the cinematography thereof combined with James Newton Howard’s score are all superb. Plus there are some amusing moments, like with the dour film critic (Bob Balaban). Similar to “Signs” (2002), there’s a good theme about coming to grips with tragedy and moving on with a newfound sense of purpose. Moreover, Bryce is very appealing as the naïve fantasy creature and the movie leaves you with a warm feeling. On the negative side, the somewhat convoluted fable will be less than compelling for certain viewers and some critics understandably complained that it was a mistake for Shyamalan to cast himself as the writer whose words are the seeds to changing the world, although it didn’t bother me; I think he’s perfect for the role. Still, M. Night casting himself as the savior of the freakin’ planet is a tad pretentious. The film runs 1 hour, 49 minutes, and was shot in Levittown, Pennsylvania, a suburb northeast of Philadelphia. GRADE: B-