Well, Lady in the Water wasn’t completely stupid… I’d give it a 5 out of 10 stars. I think the reason a lot of people don’t like it is that it’s not like the director’s other films, such as Signs or The Sixth Sense, in which there is some twisted ending. I guess you could still say there are “twists” in Lady in the Water, but it’s certainly not the same as his prior films. I think the story itself had a good message, but the film has some problems…
First of all, film critics might see the film as a reflection of their own arrogance, which I don’t think they like. One of the characters in the movie just happens to be an arrogant film critic, and real film critics probably aren’t fond of the way he is portrayed. Meanwhile, the director’s character (he plays in his own movie) is a struggling writer who is told that his book will end up changing the world after he dies. Uh… corny. Film critics probably have a tough time buying that, especially when they see their own arrogance being portrayed. In other words, they probably get the feeling that the movie is against them.
The audience might get that feeling too from the opening, when a narrator tells us something like “perhaps man has forgotten how to listen.” What? You can’t seemingly insult the audience about how wrong mankind is nowadays and then think they’ll still follow you. Mankind in and of itself is perfect. It is a character’s decisions and desires that can be flawed.
Finally, the film was just corny. It’s too hard to suspend disbelief when you have a bunch of adults from our world doing all these fantastical childish things. But who’s fault is this, that it becomes too hard to suspend disbelief? Film critics might blame the director, while the director might blame the audience. Well, technically it’s both our faults, ours as the audience and the director’s, but the need to even blame an entity is silly, because we don’t have to presume that not being able to suspend disbelief is somehow wrong. It just didn’t work, and no one should try to make an audience afraid to admit that. Do you get what I’m saying or am I being too wordy? It’s an issue that comes up time and time again in art, and my point is that a person should not be afraid to dislike something for fear he might be seen as stupid. And trying to blame someone for a difference in artistic taste can seem like a justification for something that is neither right or wrong anyway. Does that make any sense?
I think the story’s message would have been much better portrayed in a film targeted towards and starring children in some sort of fantasy world. It would then be much easier to suspend disbelief and much harder for film critics and/or audiences in general to get the sense that the film is against them.