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Lady in the Water (2006)


Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 211
Fresh: 51
Rotten: 160

Critics Consensus: A far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.

Average Rating: 3.7/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 41

Critics Consensus: A far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.


Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 418,752


Movie Info

A modest building manager named Cleveland Heep rescues a mysterious young woman from danger and discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures … More

PG-13 (for some frightening sequences)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
M. Night Shyamalan
In Theaters:
Dec 19, 2006
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Lady in the Water

All Critics (221) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (160) | DVD (29)

[Perhaps it's] improvised and protracted, nonsensically and unnecessarily, just for the sake of stringing us along. And, maybe, putting us to sleep.

Full Review… | September 13, 2006
Top Critic

What was [Shyamalan] thinking? This isn't just duff, it's career-threatening catastrophic.

Full Review… | August 10, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

despite the childlike nature of the story, Lady in the Water will prove too confusing for most kids, which is a shame, since they're also the ones most like to greet that giant-eagle business with something other than a derisive laugh.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The story is so convoluted and ultimately preposterous that you're almost embarrassed by the earnestness of the actors trying to carry it off.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
New York Daily News
Top Critic

In the end, Shyamalan's stumbling Lady never gives us a reason to believe.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Crazy as this might sound, it turns out that self-indulgent ramblings designed to put your children to sleep are pretty much the opposite of art.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Once again Shyamalan is a maddening storyteller, by turns inspired and insipid, and he still manages to conjure some odd, unnerving moments.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Peevishly defensive, intransigently personal and serenely indifferent to critical (and audience) reaction

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

While the film's performances are intriguing and the direction tight, Shyamalan's fairytale ends up being more interesting than the actual film.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

... to put it bluntly, badly paced and completely trivial, not to mention utterly juvenile.

Full Review… | July 4, 2008

This could have made a decent movie but the mythology comes so thick and fast that it mixes to a slurry as you watch.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Eye for Film

What is most annoying about "Lady" is that no one ever considers the possibility that nothing magical is actually occurring.The film starts out silly and just gets sillier.

Full Review… | April 20, 2008
Beyond Hollywood

While I love where Night's head and heart are at, I think he tried to communicate them in a way that was clumsy, cumbersome, lacking in suspense and menace, and frankly, unexciting.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008

Ignore the critics on this movie. Yeah, I am one. Which means I'm telling you to ignore me, too.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

The film is a mess, a ramshackle affair. Its silliness cannot sustain itself.

Full Review… | April 25, 2007
Apollo Guide

It's a fairy tale that never flies the way it should.

Full Review… | March 24, 2007

We get it. We just don't want it. Because this Lady is the Showgirls of fantasy films.

Full Review… | February 7, 2007
Film Journal International

High on talk-heavy exposition and low on actual scares and thrills . . .

Full Review… | December 28, 2006
Sci-Fi Movie Page

A return to storytelling in the first order, "Lady in the Water" is highly recommended.

Full Review… | December 13, 2006
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Once the filmmaker spells everything out for us in the first fifteen or twenty minutes, the rest of the plot simply unfolds in a jumbled series of incomprehensible events.

Full Review… | December 8, 2006
Movie Metropolis

Lady in the Water exposes Hollywood's master of suspense as a wet noodle.

Full Review… | November 4, 2006

review in Greek

Full Review… | October 30, 2006
Movies for the Masses

El director toca fondo con una fábula para adultos tan ridícula como pretenciosa. Solo Paul Giamatti logra mantener a flote este fiasco.

Full Review… | October 4, 2006
Uruguay Total

It lacks the heart that made you care when you realized Sixth Sense's secret. It lacks the connection with the characters that made Signs' ending feel so triumphant.

Full Review… | September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

I've not been overly impressed with Shyamalan's last few films, but this one is better.

Full Review… | September 20, 2006
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Lady in the Water


Offensive for the critics, the director put himself in a role, where he is a future hero for the world that write beautiful things and Bob Balaban's role is a intelligent, but rude critic that have a violent end. Lady in the Water present a charming cast and a interesting script, but become sort of a magic cliche movie.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Okay, so this isn't quite the complete and utter failure that I had been led to believe that it was...but still, it is pretty bad. The film is basically a fairy tale bedtime story concerning Cleveland Heep- the superintendent of an apartment complex who discovers a sea nymph who entered into our world through the pool at the apartment cocmplex. She tries to get back to her world, but she's threatened by menacing creatures, and requires help from Cleveland and the various colorful tenants of the building.

Just looking at the broad concept (a supernatural thriller/fairy tale sort of bedtiem story thing) this isn't too bad. It's kinda unique, though the execution of it all is where there's trouble. The specific story itself is a little hokey, the script is atrocious, the cast, while notable, give some really dry, wooden, and downright awful performances, and to top it all off, the jokes suck, the film is unintentionally funny, there's tons of cliches, the bits where the 4th wall is broken really fall flat and induce facepalms, and it's all a bit of a bore and I didn't care too much. Also, Shyamalan really shows his narcissism here, but I won't spoil it by detailing specifics.

But, since I did give it a barely passing grade, that means it's not all bad. LIke I said, good cast, terrible work. The cinematography is quite wonderful (as should be expected), the direction is decent (I've always felt that Shyamalan was a far better director than a writer) but he's been far better, and I do think Howard is pretty, even if she often gets miscast or misdirected.

So yeah, bottom line, this film does mostly live up to its reputation. I liked some aspects of it, but it is essentially a really poor misguided piece of work.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

All I keep hearing about director M. Night Shyamalan is that he was phenomenal with his debut, THE SIXTH SENSE, but after that his films began to plunge down an endless slope. I loved THE SIXTH SENSE so much that I couldn't bring myself to believe it. It's one of those times when seeing actually is believing. I fully agree with that statement I've heard all too many times after seeing LADY IN THE WATER, a total disaster.

The first problem with LADY IN THE WATER is the script. It's hard to tell if this was intended to be funny, but I laughed very hard in some parts. Let me give you an example of one of the worst scenes. It's when one of the characters is faced with the dog-like creature. The character is a film critic (is that Shyamalan trying to earn some critical respect?), and he states that it's like a moment out of a horror movie. (Seriously, are you M. Night Shyamalan or Mel Brooks?) He rambles on and on about how it's the moment when the side character is about to be attacked, and that he's going to run through the door behind him and the dog will barely miss him. He has rambled on so much that not only is it incredibly predictable when the dog slaughters him, it's excruciatingly funny.

Alexander Diminiano

Super Reviewer


One of the few M. Night Shyamalan films that I enjoy. Some of the acting was a bit ridiculous though.

Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer

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