Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some Thoughts on Lady in the Water

I hope this Sunday finds you well and dreaming your life into action. I wanted to put up a quick post because the new M. Night Shyamalan movie seems to be getting routinely excoriated by reviewers and I had a very different experience when I saw it on Friday night.

I won't address all the issues the critics are having with it (although I will note two things: first off, M. Night and Disney had an unhappy divorce after he released The Village and as a movie critic I suppose it never hurts to be on The Mouse's good side, and secondly, in the movie itself, one of the characters is a movie critic who is portrayed as something of an uptight loser). I just want to talk about why this film moved me and why I think dreamers might enjoy it.

The film is an allegorical fable. The characters are archetypes of the human family (whereas the critics are savaging the film for being full of "boring stereotypes" -- don't they know an allegorical fable when they see one? [grin]), and the community they comprise comes into contact with the Otherworld in the form of the Lady of the title. I won't give away any more of the story, but I will say that Paul Giamatti is excellent -- I think he's one of the best actors working today. And the fine supporting cast is full of actors you know by face but not necessarily by name (lots of "oh yeah: him!" moments [grin]).

The film evoked the following thoughts for me:

1. Without magic, the world is small, dull and incomplete.

2. Humanity *needs* the power of story to help understand its place in the universe -- without myth/story, meaning drains out of things.

3. While we are ultimately responsible for healing ourselves...

...4. We cannot do that healing work in a vacuum; we need our community around us in support.

5. The Otherworld is right here in front of our noses -- if we look with the right eyes.

6. Every one of us has a unique and indispensable purpose for being here.

7. Help is right here with us all the time -- if we're brave enough to ask for it.

I have no idea who among you were already planning to see the film. If you dislike M. Night's work, then don't bother seeing this one. If you're on the fence, I urge you to see Lady in the Water. When my wife saw me after this film, she asked me how it was and I said, "It was beautiful."

If you do go see the film (or have seen it already), please post a comment by clicking on the "comment" link at the bottom of the entry.

And if you are going to see the film, do it soon. If getting gutted by the critics equals bad box office, it won't be in theaters long. But who knows? Maybe tomorrow we'll find out it did big numbers and people are buzzing about it. Like I said, humanity has a need for myth. And as Dreamers, we are wisdomkeepers and storytellers, and our dreams are the stuff of myth.

I will post more of my thoughts on this later, especially if I get comments on this post. Dream strong...

1 comment:

Sri Harsha said...

Right on spot TIM.

I completely agree with you.