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Monday, July 31, 2006

The Lady in the Water & M. Night Shyamalan

I saw The Lady in the Water FRI. Of course I heard all of the bad reviews that were out there before I went. However, I did NOT care, because it is another M. Night Shyamalan film!!!! I am a fan of every one of his films so far. The Village was probably my least favorite, but I still enjoyed it. His movies ALL seem to be more than just entertainment. Everytime I watch one of his films, I find many messages. Some more powerful than sermons from Sunday morning church.

The Lady in the Water is no exception. Almost from the beginning the messages start....BUT only if you are looking for it. So, that might be my point here. There is something for all of us to hear, see, and learn everyday of out lives, BUT only if we are willing to listen, see, and hear.

I came across this on Relevant yesterday.

The Gospel and M. Night Shyamalan
Mickel J. Cardinell

I love M. Night Shyamalan movies. I love them because, if watched back to back, they present a spiritual journey. The Lady in the Water, the writer/director’s latest effort is in many ways very similar to his other films. Let me give you a little synopsis:

[SPOILER WARNING: The following analogy contains a few details of the plot of Lady in the Water.]

A savior comes to earth. The savior comes from a land of perfection that, while it knows evil, is not corrupted by evil. The savior comes with the power to lead the earth into love and peace. That power is instilled into man, and that man will suffer a martyr’s death as he fulfills his purpose. With the completion of the good work, the savior must ascend to the perfect world. The evil beast is working to kill the savior and prevent the ascension. The ascension must happen to usher in the kingdom of peace promised by the savior. Those chose before the foundation of the world all play their part to usher in the kingdom. The guild works, the healer heals, the interpreter teaches humanity and finally the guardian is there to protect.

Sound familiar? It should. This movie has the aura of a bedtime story, and like every bedtime story, this story has a moral. This movie tells us, like Signs, that we are all here for a purpose. However, this story moves past the generalities of Signs.

Lady in the Water is very much like a picture of the Christian Church. The plotline spends most of its energy finding the disciples who will usher in the kingdom. These disciples must all use the skills given to them by fate (or God?) to accomplish their purpose. If it were not for these disciples, the kingdom of peace could not take its place in the world. However, it is only as they come together as one body that they are able to fulfill this purpose.

The Lady in the Water does not stop with ecclesiology. This story touches on the question of theodicy as well. This is the human question. The story asks us, where is justice? Why is evil allowed to wage war without judgment? We learn from this bedtime story that, while justice may seem slow in coming, it is coming. Justice comes just in time—just in time to teach us what we need to learn and to let us see what we need to see.

Did M. Night Shyamalan set out to write a story about the Church? I don’t know. Maybe he is just answering the questions that plague all of humanity. Why am I here? Why do I enjoy doing crossword puzzles? Why have I been placed in this seemingly meaningless situation? Moreover, does God care about me; does he care that I hurt? I don’t know M. Night Shyamalan, but one has to wonder about his spiritual journey. From The Village’s critic of religion, to Signs’ observance that their is some sort of order in the universe, to this present bedtime story, we can see that he (or maybe we as the viewer) is headed somewhere. I wonder where the journey will lead.


Anonymous Steven said...

I've never really thought about his movies that way. WOW!!!! It makes sence looking back on them.

I'm going to see Lady in the Water this week.


9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I saw it on Sunday. She liked it, but I didn't like it so much. I will probably watch it again sometime.

I also wasn't in the mood for that type of movie though.


4:58 PM  
Blogger rie said...

that's what i was thinking the whole time and soaked up every minute, message, and symbol. i love too that it showed people playing the roles others place them in even when it isn't who they are. how true is that in the church? also i loved the fact that the child was the like a child. this film was brilliant. cheers to rickey for pulling me into the theater when i didn't want to see it at all.

8:24 PM  
Blogger j_cardinell said...

yes i agree...haha...glad you enjoyed

1:32 AM  

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