Water - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Water Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2011
There's few movies that can ride on purely beautiful cinematography in order to tell a story, but this certainly does. The message of this movie is so well told through its images that it quite possibly could have been utterly silent and still effective. Now the basic story and characters are okay, but they wouldn't be half as effective if they weren't given such a great backdrop. The issue is important, but not something an American audience would necessarily need a feature length to understand. For a two hour movie that essentially deals with one sole issue, it can be a bit lengthy and unevenly paced, but I would never go as far as to say that it was bad or boring. It also has quite possibly one of the most oddly humorous moments ever brought onscreen concerning a fart joke and a child stomping on a fat woman's back.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Ooooooooh. This is a most WONDERFUL movie! The setting is beautiful. The story is amazing and very moving. The acting superb. This is my idea of a PERFECT film. This movie was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award. I dont understand why this movie wouldnt have won hands down. Truly, truly wonderful.
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2006
Heart braking and fascinating look at the terrible life of widows in India.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2009
An important film to see if not all that good, just barely socially conscious and iconoclastic enough to overcome its lack of a coherent story. This is very sensitive filmmaking and the acting (particularly the child actor Sarala) is quite good, but the film is hard to watch due to its incredibly slow pacing. Stick with it, the second half is good (until the cop-out ending which I won't spoil), but there's just not enough there to overcome the excessive "build-up" of the first half. A letdown, overall.
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2008
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2008
Awsome Movie, Tells about widows in India, some are widows at age 9, Great Story a must see.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2008
A good lovely movie with a cutesy story line and great acting but it wasn't intriguing enough. You didn't want to watch it you just did. The setting was awesme though.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2007
It was a very good movie. It has a very interesting story, very touching and emotional, a view of how ancient hindu traditions are still standing and how people live with them and the repercussions in their life. It has a solw rythm but that doesn't mean that its a boring film. A movie with such beautiful landscapes. A very good cast with great and strong performances from everyone
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2009
Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, John Abraham, and Sarala Kariyawasam performed roles of their lives in this great artistic achievement of Deepa Mehta... Hard to watch, heavy on the audience but with hope and full of love... One of my favourite movies this year!
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2006
Intermittently melodramatic and inevitably concerned with its message, yet Mehta handles the material well without being too heavy-handed.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2006
One of the best of the year. Water is beautifully shot and directed; a film whose subject matter would not have been as carefully handled under American direction.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2009
This was a good film to watch, because I had no idea of anything about the way widows are treated. It's just shocking because it's so far removed from the culture that I'm used to. As a great film, it just wasn't up there, but it did bring an important issue to light.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2009
Water was a beautifully story,that passed all boundaries and has the potential to teach one about acceptance, love, betrayal, friendship, death, tradition, sorrow, jealousy and simple joy.
The acting was brilliantly done, watching these characters on the screen, you could see a world, we dare not believe still exists in this day and ages, but they made it believable, and convincing.

The cinematography was beautifully done, the shots of the sky, the river, the human connections through nature, they were all tied up together in a story not soon to be forgotten. Surrounded by such beauty but having such a heavy darkness in one's soul was one contrasts that made this movie so beautifully.
No wonder it was nominated for Oscar. Great movie.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2008
India has one of the biggest film industries in the world. Most have heard all about the large glitzy, and ultimately rather immature musicals that the country pumps out on a regular business. In many ways most of the edgier more independently minded movies about Indian society seem to be made by Indian immigrants in other countries like Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta. Mehta's film Water was greeted with great praise by western critics and an academy award nomination for best foreign film, but it was highly controversial in India where it's production was greeted with violence that forced it to move its production to Siri Lanka.

The film is an attack on the Hindu practice in which young women who are widowed at a young age are forced to live in Ashrams. There they live a secluded life not unlike that of a nun's. The film is set in 1938 and begins by focusing on a girl named Chuyia (Sarala Kariyawasam) whose arranged husband (who she never met) dies when she is seven years old. She is then sent to this ashram to live out the rest of her life. The ashram is run by the militantly traditionalist old woman named Madhumati (Manorama). In order to keep the ashram financially secure she forces a young beautiful widow named Kalyani (Lisa Ray) into prostitution. A young man, inspired by the teachings of Gandhi, named Narayan (John Abraham) runs into Kalyani and tells her about the possibility of leaving the ashram.

The film is set against the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, who was no fan of the way widows are treated. Gandhi's beliefs are not universally praised by the traditionalists around him, many Indians saw his attacks on ashrams and the caste system as "foolish" and "crazy." This I think is what the film's ultimate political message derives from; that progressive change is always attacked in its time by those without the vision to see how it will improve things. Today, the notion of ashram seems crazy, but at the time it was perfectly natural. Seeing such attitudes and such reactions to changes that seem like common sense allows the viewer to gain perspective about changing cultural norms that exist today. One could imagine people seventy years from now being just as baffled by the reaction certain people have to the thought of gay marriage.

The film's script is interesting, as it begins with a clear focus on the young Chuyia. One assumes it will stay focused on her but it doesn't. It seems that she is mainly used because it is an interesting perspective to use in introducing the ashram to the viewer. As the film progresses it becomes more of an ensemble piece and at times seems to focus very specifically on Kalyani and Narayan.

The Narayan character is in many ways the film's weak link. A romance that buds between him and Kalyani seems a bit hokey, they seem to fall in "love" after meeting maybe twice and have very few real interactions. What's shown on screen seems like little more than puppy love and Narayan's naivety occasionally gets on my nerves. Furthermore whenever he's on screen he tends to telegraph the film's message with very direct and inelegant lines. It doesn't help that John Abraham is probably gives the weakest performance in the film.

The film is very well produced, there's great cinematography to be seen in it and the film has a very effectively calm tone throughout. This combined with a well constructed political message makes the film as a whole rise above some questionable elements.
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2007
This is a fantastic film! Loved it very much!
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2007
Because it deals with such bleak material, I was afraid water would have a very dismal tone. There are still shocking and sad parts, but also so much beauty.
Super Reviewer
½ February 17, 2007
Absolutely adored this film. A film that truly touched me. The depiction of the politic of religion and how women in India are affected by the laws show how the country in the 1930s wasnt a fair place to live. By representing the problems through an 8 year old girl's eyes makes the film even more affective. The best Canadian film of the year even though it wasnt based on the country.
Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2006
I knew that India treated women badly but I was unaware of the plight of widows. This movie is important and more people should see it. Beyond the political/message, this movie is really wonderful. The centers around a little girl who became a widow at the age of seven. This film is really beautiful, has wonderful music and a story that'll really getting to you. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
½ November 16, 2008
I've now seen Water and Earth, and if it's fair to extrapolate from those I'd say Deepa Mehta is an aesthetic genius. The movies are beautiful, intense, and passionate, and leave you sort of awestruck by the end.
½ September 8, 2012
An illuminating and melancholy story about old world traditions. The cinematography is extraordinary and the acting superb. Where the film falls short is in exploring the characters in depth, treating us to very little of the backstory that brought the widows to the ashram. But although I was left wishing there has been more, the film is no doubt an engrossing story exploring the relegation of women under the guise of religious purity.

"Our Holy Books say, a wife is part of her husband while he's alive. And when our husbands die, God help us, a part of us also dies. Right? So how can a half-dead woman feel pain?"
"Because she's half alive."
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