The Meaning

Author Topic: The Meaning  (Read 11656 times)


  • Guest
Re: The Meaning
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2009, 12:41:37 PM »
I found the maintenance man extremely attractive.

Lmao...odd contrast to the magnificent analysis by enalpanosekans

The analysis is, indeed, magnificent; but, hey, sometimes a girl's gotta say what a girl's gotta say.  ;)

(Btw, maintenance man = not extremely attractive IMHO. Methinks Dana needs to get out more.)

Decadent Sympozium

  • Unbreakable

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 53
    • Email
Re: The Meaning
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2009, 07:01:02 PM »
'i love M Night and have stuck by all his other films until i got the overall meaning and references throughout. Yet Lady is the one which i have never liked and simply dont understand.
i know this was a bedtime story for his kids or sumthin so he decided to make a film of it but is that all there is to it? is there a wider perspective and a point to it?
please help me out and convince me that this is as good as Shyamalan's others.'

This is a quote from IMDB. I wanted to give a short intro to the depth of Lady in the Water, so I also wrote a more general analyze of this movie. You might consider reading through, and sharing opinion on this one:

Nearly every scene, dialogue line, title, name, shape and act has it's purpose in this film. I'll try writing in short lines the general point of this movie, and if you'd like a more in-depth interpretation of movie's details, visit this link:

[First of all, you probably liked the music inside this film. The main theme is more or less God's intervention through James Newton Howard's talent. The music was done with special care and, just like in Village, was designed to touch things inside us - beyond us. If you failed to be with the music, and watching this movie in cinema helped a lot, this is a troublesome obstacle, but I guess we will find a way around it.]

The intro was designed to propose and set the basics of complex plot so that all the important thoughts and ideas can be expressed during film without additional setbacks from storytelling the past, which is often an issue in movies because it requires additional unnecessary scenes with dialogues of no good motive to explain. Sometimes narrating intro is of questionable necessity (e.g. Push 2009), but in this case, it was. The intro was done in symbols because major element of importance in this movie, just as in any of his works since Shyamalan is a symbolist in range of Charles Baudelaire), are symbols and symbolism. The intro starts with 'once', like all classic tales do. Basically, he is telling us a tale that people talk to their children, he's showing what tale are we dealing here with, so that when he sets the tale into modern time, we are not lost, but are aware of what is going on, and then we can monitor and see what exactly is it all about.

Tale is the first and very important symbol/aspect in LitW. It is known that all tales, regardless of their presentation, contain messages, ethics, values, and general wisdom. If you realize that Shyamalan is telling you and presenting you something through a tale set in modern world, you can automatically conclude that he is pointing at something, that he has something to say and that what you see is not what you get. Not a single tale ever was designed to be just a story, all of them have a mass detail of messages to decipher, and offer you elderly wisdom - the one that men should take into consideration. The crucial line here also appears in the intro, when the narrator says 'but men does not listen very well'. This is one of the key problems since the beginning of humankind, problem that is analyzed even in work such as Bible, and most important issue in today's world as well. Men does not pay attention, men does not listen, and men does not care.

In terms of biology, life began in the sea. If we, just for a second, ignore the mystery and men's fascination with the sea, this fact points us to where it all started, but this symbol doesn't speak of location, it speaks of where to look - where to turn our heads to in order for us to 'see' the messages from nature so that we can realize that the progress of humankind, ironically, is decadent. This portion of movie pretty much deals with men's ignorance the way Baudelaire's poem Correspondences does ( In terms of tale, naturally, the sirens (Narfs) are those who remained in the sea - those who are in correspondence with the nature, who did not alienate and do not bring their own destruction. To accept this further, we need to conclude that in this world, regardless of our orientation, there are two kind of forces - constructive (preferably good) and destructive (preferably evil). Just like in any tale and in all our lives, both forces appear as they are intertwined.

Second crucial key problem, and key line here, also in intro, is 'men's need to own everything'. Translated, he's talking about selfishness, about human greed. While studying human behavior, one can conclude all our motives come down to sensitivity of our selfishness, including love for someone. Since this is a topic we can discuss greatly, to make it relevant for the movie, what was said is enough. The point is, we alienated from nature because of one error we possess, selfishness, and this is what brings our doom. In plain common, we all understand what is going on in this world, wars aren't started for human rights but for personal interests, industries put product over human or animal life, deforestation is done to increase amount of profitable space, you will get killed in the streets for 5$, and so on...all in all, everything is ucked up, and it's all about
A) not caring/paying attention and
B) greed.
Another reason why these nature-close characters are exactly that is to show the difference between them and us - humans. They are ideal human, and we are, so to say, corrupted spawns, and you cannot relate and cannot be guided by a corrupted spawn, so what you really need is someone as pure as Narf to guide you, just like while working or studying, you need a small push from someone. If you have problem relating to something being a Narf, then think of Narf, symbolically, as being your conscious, rather than some creature from the sea.

Narf, nature or conscious, anyway you put it - the story further explains they are, nonetheless, trying to make contact with you, and, of course, there are obstacles between. Any aspect of this tale can be explained in more than one way but all of these share similarities, some central ideas. In analogy with conscious, it becomes obvious that Scrunt is the little evil seed, aspect known from Freud's psychology, but it can also be any occurrence that puts you to test or prevents you to realize (see the truth, so to say, e.g., this problem is philosophically studied in Plato's allegory of cave and light).

Most of this is contained inside the intro. That is why those first 2 minutes are very important - because they set the basic problem, and the rest of the movie explains it, debates it and solves it, with one goal - inspire and give hope.
To go through all of them would take way too much time, and it is much better if you can reach it on your own, once you established the basics, so, just like above, I'm skipping the wealth of details for common relevance.

Characters that appear in LitW share several similar points:
1. They are common people in common life with uncommon setting
2. They are all in the same place, their little corner, and stuck in life
3. They suffer because of their past or their present, and they have no motivation
4. ALL these people need HOPE. This is foremost important and another key spot.

This is how this works: Imagine someone who is most important to you has terminal illness. Eventually, you will reach a stage of thought where you might consider that there is nothing that can be done to prevent this from happening. This situation can be applied to any event in your life or social environment you live in. Most people today believe, among other, one important thing that is also relevant for this film: That today's world is going to hell and that there's nothing we can do about it. This is the MAIN issue Shyamalan is pointing at, and the main message is: it doesn't have to be that way. So, your special someone is dying, there's nothing we can do about it. One day, 'out of ~blue~', someone appears and offers you a method to save that special someone. Will you try believing it?

As a tale, it is a symbol, but it works the same way for all these men in LitW: This strange Story appears and does something to them. The rest who lives there notice something is going on, something 'out of this world', and it gives them a motive, it revives them, it makes them believe that there truly is a purpose and hope. Yes, perhaps Shyamalan could have made a load of tragic characters and put them into, for example, war setting, or simply a more serious setting than this one (like, for example, King did in Green Mile, story and another movie with content similar to LitW), but he didn't. He designed a very realistic and modern setting for his Unbreakable, so it's quite obvious he intentionally wanted to make us feel the inspiring fantasy in this broken world. After all, we all wish fantasy is real, we all have affinity for our imagination, and we all seek, in this our fantasy, a better world.

Notice that those who are most important bear heaviest cross or have worst obstacle. If you paid attention to it, you know that when being near Story, they feel warmth, or piercing, or peace. This 'peace' is the one we feel when things go well, when we do the right thing, when we feel pleased. It is the opposite of horrible feeling of angst (eng. anxiety, oppression), The symbol of 'peace/warmth/piercing' represents our purpose. All characters are equally relevant, as it appears during unfolding. Without one, nothing works and we are all connected in chains of reactions. This problem is widely analyzed, debated and philosophically studied in Chrono Cross. So, what does it mean? Shyamalan sends us three messages here:

1. Each and every one of us has a purpose.
2. We are all I, we are all equally relevant.
3. Any of us can make a difference, if only we knew where to start from.

Number 3 is very, very important. In basis, Lady in the Water goes from primary point that mankind, originally, is good, not evil, is giving, not selfish. Where's the symbolism?

Every one of us has a purpose (the reason why all characters play an unavoidable role), by knowing our place we can help the one among us (even some poor guy living in apartment room with his sister // in terms, we can see that we all have a role, but our roles are different) to make the difference (start listening, hearing, understanding, it is common sense, it is our conscious) and start making this world a better place (by writing a book which will influence men with other roles, and start a chain of reactions (e.g. from history, Karl Marx, although it's on the negative side)) but it needs a push, a motive and inspiration (Story), and thus the laws of nature (Tartut/rics, Narf, Scrunt, Eagle respectively), or karma if you will, will eventually give 'the chosen one' (classic, but very much real) a chance to begin with. In short, Shyamalan says :'Yes, it could be you!'

In LitW, the Narf finally made a successful contact, but then this contact must be protected, both-wise, so this becomes the primary goal in the last part of the movie. This creature that brought salvation to mankind must be saved, and all of them will do their best to follow the rules of the unknown world in order to keep their own world existent and with purpose because now finally they all have the supernatural among them to give them purpose (This problem of  'your place in this world' Shyamalan also discusses in Signs and in Unbreakable, it is clearly major trouble he copes with, very much like Stephan King always makes writers with lost inspiration for his main characters, like he said, it's the only thing he fears of, losing inspiration).

Now some of the catchy parts floating around...By putting himself into the role of the chosen one who will save the world, you can react to Shyamalan in four ways, and it depends on your personality and perception, really:
1) He just wanted to be the one in order to feel good. It's his movie, so back off. Tarantino does the same.
2) He thinks he's all super-cool director so he's pumping his ego by making films about himself.
3) He clearly wanted to show that anyone can be that by directly putting himself into work. (In some way, this is a type of responsibility for the actions you do)
4) He knew people will respond to this with mixed reactions, he did it on purpose.

About 4). This actually may not be a bad clue. Apart from himself, he also put a film critic into the movie and made fun of them, he also predicted how acclaimed critic will respond to this movie, and he probably intentionally didn't want to change it. Finally, he killed the critic, and it could be a very funny way of telling them his opinion. The critic responded to this with 'his attempt to board himself from the fact he made a bad movie' but, from what I can tell, it's hard to believe Shyamalan can't tell a difference, and can predict bad reviews - but can't change the movie to make it 'less bad'. Not convincing. Some may hate this thought, but Shyamalan is a bit witty, actually.

Since we're at it, there's also an interesting detail you might consider paying attention to:
Apart from Sixth Sense, which is a money-maker film, Unbreakable, Signs, Village and Lady in the Water are SF philosophical art movies where Shyamalan is offering hope and purpose, love, faith, generally movies that have happy endings, that are positive in their nature. In all these movies - Shyamalan appears himself.  After Lady in the Water, which is a climax of his thoughts and a movie where humankind IS SAVED, Shyamalan made a dark, depressing The Happening where he condemned mankind to destruction, and he doesn't appear in the movie. Also, note that in Lady in the Water, the nature is good-willing and a friend of mankind, while in Happening, the nature hates mankind, and is portrayed by demented Mrs. Jones in the second part of movie. You might consider this.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have seconds thoughts about Lady in the Water.
Manoj Night Shyamalan is Charles Baudelaire of movie art. That is non-deniable. Baudelaire's value is non-deniable.


  • Futuristic (After Earth)

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 2942
    • Email
Re: The Meaning
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 04:39:44 PM »
Wow, okay, so I finally read this, and all I can say is that there is a lot packed into this, and it will take a couple days to digest.
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.

Ivy Walker to Lucius Hunt in The Village