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Lady in the Water (2006)
A brilliant work of art, in context...
I love Shyamalan's films, and while I thought this flick was far superior to his last effort, The Village, I walked away from the theater still a bit disappointed...the story seemed somewhat thrown together and a bit lacking in focus, and while I won't argue that it's not still flawed in some ways, I think I finally *got* the movie today after reflecting a bit more: We all know that this was supposed to be some kind of bedtime story that Shyamalan told his girls, but what I didn't get was this is *exactly* how the story was doled out to us in the movie, itself: Heep kept returning and returning (and returning) to a tenant in his apartment complex to get more and more of the story/myth, laboriously so, I thought at first...but then I realized that this is what parents do when they're making up a bedtime story...they dole it out in bits and pieces, sometimes even changing things as they go along since they forgot or had to amend part of the story to fit their next part...(Were you frustrated when Heep kept returning to the Korean lady over and over for more of the story/myth?) It all makes sense in this light.
I won't argue whether or not it's an effective story-telling method for this medium, but I think the movie gained a couple of stars in my book after thinking of it in these terms. I really believe, as a whole, this was exactly what Shyamalan was after...Giamatti/the audience was being told a bedtime story. It's a story within a story, but in the genre of a make-believe story a parent might conjure up and parcel out each night to his/her kids.
One of the movie posters for LitW reads "A Bedtime Story" at the very top. It's a bedtime story...and not just for his kids, but for Heep and very much us as well. This is a bedtime story come to film.