Lady In the Water parents guide

Lady In the Water Parent Guide

Overall B

Director M. Night Shyamalan, master of movies with a twist, gets his feet wet in a different genre. Based on an Asian fairytale, Lady In the Water features a maiden in distress (Bryce Dallas Howard), some scary mythical creatures, and an unlikely gallant hero (Paul Giamatti).

Release date July 20, 2006

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B
Substance Use C+

Why is Lady In the Water rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Lady In the Water PG-13

Parent Movie Review

Most of us are lucky to find the time to read bedtime stories to our kids, let alone write one for them. But a nighttime narrative composed for his children is the basis for M. Night Shyamalan’s newest movie Lady in the Water. Like the original unsanitized fairytales, this one has scary creatures, a distressed maiden and the need for a gallant hero.

Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), however, seems like an unlikely champion.

The reticent, stuttering caretaker spends his days collecting garbage, repairing appliances and maintaining The Cove apartment building. But his mundane routine is shattered when a young female swimmer is discovered in the tenants’ pool. The pale, naked intruder introduces herself as Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), and reveals she is a “narf,” a legendary creature caught in the world of man and trying to return to her people.

With the help of an Asian renter (Cindy Cheung) and her mother (June Kyoto Lu), Cleveland painstakingly unravels the details of the Far East folklore surrounding these ancient beings. However, every new tidbit of the yarn discloses additional danger for the waif-like nymph, including dog-like creatures hiding in the grass waiting to attack. Realizing it will take more than his own efforts to protect Story from the evading beasts and make her way home, the maintenance man enlists the help of the other occupants.

After honing his suspense-building skills in The Sixth Sense and Signs, Shyamalan has established his ability to create films with a twist. Like his previous productions, this movie also incorporates the vibrant colors, creative camera angles and use of reflection the director’s work has become known for, along with engaging performances by Giamatti, Howard and several other secondary actors.

While the interactions between the legendary creatures from Asian mythology and the complex occupants make for some startling and sometimes injurious encounters, the script contains only minimal amounts of other content concerns, including the arrival of the unclothed sea urchin and the occasional misuse of alcohol and cigarettes.

However, Story is more than a lost imp. Leaving behind the safety of the Blue World, her purpose is to help the other residents rediscover their missions in life. While younger viewers might be more prone to nightmares than inspiration after seeing this bedtime story, older kids and their parents may enjoy the mix of fright and fairytale in Lady in the Water.

Theatrical release July 20, 2006. Updated

Lady In the Water
Rating & Content Info

Why is Lady In the Water rated PG-13? Lady In the Water is rated PG-13 by the MPAA

Cleveland Heep’s job as a caretaker introduces him to a variety of tenants including a group of laid-back loafers who disregard the building’s no smoking rule. He also meets a mother and daughter who tell him the mythical Far East tale of narfs after Story shows up in the pool. At a party thrown for a new tenant, a few people become intoxicated and one man is attacked by a dog-like creature. Although Story shows up without clothes, only leg and shoulder nudity are seen. While the script includes some frightening sequences, there is only is mild sexual innuendo and brief profanities.

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Lady In the Water Parents' Guide

In the film, Story reveals the future of some characters. If you could know what your future held, would you want to be told? What effect does the revelation have on Van? How might his knowledge influence his actions?

Most good bedtime stories have a moral. What lessons do you think this tale teaches? In what ways did the apartment tenants help Story as much as Story helped them?

Color and reflection are two trademarks of director M. Night Shyamalan’s work. How does he make use of them in this film? What other visual elements does he use to tell the story?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Lady In the Water movie is December 18, 2006. Here are some details…

Presented in either wide or full screen, the DVD release of Lady In The Water offers bonus extras so fans can wade deeply in the production’s details. These include the featurette Lady In The Water: A Bedtime Story, a six-part documentary titled Reflections of Lady In The Water, additional scenes, trailers, auditions and a gag reel. Audio tracks are available English, French and Spanish (all Dolby Digital Surround Sound EX 5.1), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

M. Night Shyamalan’s also worked with Bryce Dallas Howard in his movie The Village, about a small community that is haunted by forest creatures. During a violent summer storm, a mermaid washes ashore in the more benign film Aquamarine.