M.Night Shyamalan: ‘My Critics Will Never Be Happy’

Filmmaker M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN is convinced he’ll never be able to please his critics – because they set impossibly high standards for him after his early career success.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Shyamalan shot to fame after writing and directing 1999 hit thriller The Sixth Sense but his more recent projects have been met with disappointing reviews.

The moviemaker has now compared his career to that of basketball legend Michael Jordan, who sometimes struggled to meet fans’ expectations.

He tells Britain’s Total Film magazine, “Look, I loved Michael Jordan, right? He was my favourite basketball player. When I used to watch him at Madison Square Garden there would be 25,000 people booing every time that he touched the ball, screaming abuse at him. And it was because the entire stadium was there to see him be spectacular. They were like, ‘I don’t want you to disappoint me or hurt me.’

“I’m no Michael Jordan but maybe I get a little of that… Reviews of my movies often spend a lot of the time talking about me, not the movie!”


  1. I know for a fact that no matter what you do, you can never please the critics. IF you do then you movie will never made money. If you do a movie you do it for the audience NOT FOR THE CRITICS. These people not only judge your movie but also the person who does the movie. If I want to do a movie I’ll do it for myself and to anyone who likes it.

  2. I think he just doesn’t get it. His recent movies (ESPECIALLY Last Airbender) are just not good. It’s bad storytelling. It’s bad entertainment. If he can’t see that, he won’t get better. He needs to take a step back and analyze what made his first few thrillers successful both commercially and critically.

  3. “Reviews of my movies often spend a lot of the time talking about me, not the movie”

    I have to agree on that.

  4. Was my comment deleted?? I really hope not. I’ll just go with I didn’t send it.

    I don’t ask for another instant classic like The Sixth Sense. I just want another good movie with a solid plot, character development, and thrills. That’s it. I haven’t got that from Shyamalan since The Village (and while I didn’t love it, I didn’t enjoy it). He says that critics have set impossibly high standards for him. He isn’t the only director who’s had high standards set so early in his career. Look at Steven Spielberg and recently Christopher Nolan. These two deliver. Again, he doesn’t need another classic. There’s a difference between mixed reviews and bottom-of-the-barrel reviews, and he’s had the latter for quite some time now. And it’s not just the critics that have been disappointed in him. As a fan of his early work, someone who’s been defending him for years now, I can’t defend him anymore. I’d just like for him to take a step back and realize that he just isn’t making good movies recently. Once he realizes that, hopefully it’ll make him a better filmmaker.

  5. Please continue to make movies. Its sad every one floods to the box office to see remakes,but then complain about your movies that are original. I find it ironic that the critics like to bash you yet they are not making movies themselves. Seeing Airbender reminded me of the type of movie I would have seen in the 80’s when I was 7 or 8. It was great and I saw it twice.

  6. I believe that it is “us” and that includes the critics who don’t understand M. Night. After the sixth sense we expected that he will become the next Lucas or Spielberg. But what we found is that he is another kind of director. Every film he made was in constant attack. Some say his films suck while others think he can’t understand what he is doing. In my opinion he makes films that define him, not films to just for work like other directors. We in America are constantly see too many mediocry films that only originals films have few chance of showing to the general public. Many people who pray that M. Night wont’ direct again is simply silly. You may not like his films but you can tell that all of them are his work that tells who he is.

  7. I agree with John. Every movie M Night has done has been different than the one before it. The Village was very layered and people just focused on the ending. When I saw airbender it was not because I knew anything about the story. It was because of M Night. His style is very distinct

  8. Hey Mnight if you are reading this I just want you to know the last airbender was great. But two things you might wanna change for the sequel-

    1. The length of the movie. If you want to make it like the epic LOR trilogy, you got to make the sequel at 2:30 hours. It will give the story more depth. Like you can extend out Aang’s earth-bending training with Toph. I also want to see the Dai-Li and their conspiracies.
    2. Dialogue should a little bit more engaging. A little bit of joke from Sokka and Aang might do the magic also.

    I hope you got to make the sequel.

  9. Sadly original thoughts are scares in the movie and entertainment industry. Everyone just follows the same old plots and “successful” recipes. M Night is one a very few movie makers with totally original thinking. He surprises me everytime with the total stories he tells. It is not about the much talked about endings or comparison with his first work, it that he is a genious who can pluck inspiration out of thin air. Only a few gifted writers, scientists and inventors have this ability. Thank you. You always challenge my mind!

  10. As far as I know only Lady In The Water was not commercially successful, so despite the horrific reviews I don´t see how his career has been a failure. As previously pointed out, it is incredibly hard to fairly judge his works after TSS, due to certain defined expectations. I personally have found it very easy to love all his movies nearly equally (with the exception of the happening), as I can recognize his spirituality and unique eastern point of view on life on screen, combined with original thrilling stories. I am definitely not qualified to comment on the technical aspect of his movies, but I doubt most negative reviews focus beyond the name Shyamalan. I have not seen TLA yet, so I can not comment on his last movie, but all I can say is please Shyamalan continue on your way as there are people who resonate with your material.

  11. In short, most of the supporters use these defenses

    – we expect too much from Mnight
    after The Happening, one could hardly set his expectation so high

    – critics are generally negative thinkers
    no, they are not. They simply recognize poor movie when they see one.

    – if we don’t make movies, we have no right to attack movies
    this defense is plainly wrong and it is just an excuse to dismiss what you don’t want to hear

    – somehow, Mnight is suddenly the representative of directors with original idea
    well, he is not. having an original idea is not related to making a good movie

    My advice to Mnight: stop blaming everything and everyone else. Work harder, improve yourself and earn our praise. Belief me, we want to give that to you.

  12. no, they are not. They simply recognize poor movie when they see one.

    So this explains the rave reviews for 2012,the last Indy film etc. Opinions! Thats all they are,they are no more valid than your or mine. Critics do not go to film school, they expect everyone to listen to them and for us to be like monkeys. I thought Airbender exceeded those movies on all counts. Yeap critics know best and we should all listen to them. Right after the sixth sense people had expectations for the director. The director makes what he wants to make,he has that right. It is your right to dislike it.

    – if we don’t make movies, we have no right to attack movies
    this defense is plainly wrong and it is just an excuse to dismiss what you don’t want to hear

    Hardly. critics say his writing and directing is bad. So my defense is if you think you can do a better job than do it. It is valid. I have great respect for folks who write,produce and direct their own work. At least they have the balls to put their vision on the screen. So that means I critique a ball player and say how sucky he is even though I know nothing about the sport.right? Everyone is so self righteous.

    advice to Mnight: stop blaming everything and everyone else. Work harder, improve yourself and earn our praise. Belief me, we want to give that to you.

    Who is he blaming? All I see is people blaming him for his work. Wow, a director stumbles once or twice and your telling him to work harder? Talk about a weak defense. Well since you feel he is not working hard enough than give him some pointers. Since you know what makes a great movie. Then go make one and we will praise it. Oh wait thats another weak defense.

    • I think it was a mistake talking about this topic in MNIGHT’s fan site.
      Just to add a few points (this is kind of fun!)

      No, I cannot make movies because it’d be disastrous if I did. But at least I KNOW that I am incapable of doing it. Unfortunately, lots of people do not realize that and continue to make bad movies. They surely have balls but not the competency.

      I am not going to defend the critics anymore except that dismissing their opinions are just another way to dismiss what you don’t want to hear.

      I, on the other hand, do not reject negative opinions on this film because I am not a fan. There is one interesting article I think you should read. But of course, it is just another opinion and you can just easily dismiss it…like you always do. 🙂

      here’s the link

  13. I do not feel that way about . Night Shyamalan. I think he is an awesome producer and director. I have loved all of his films from day one and will continue to watch all that he produces. I am not critical about him and his work. He will never have to feel that he has to “please” me, b/c I will be always there watching his films. I am a devoted fan and have all of his films, except the Airbender movie. He is exceptional and I will not compare him like some compare him to Michael Jordan, I like Jordan, too, but I would not classify both people, thats ludicrous!! Night, please continue to send out through your production and directing, I love it all!!

  14. I have to agree that there is way too much hate towards M Night. I mean, it almost looks like racism at times, because his movies are not THAT bad..well-known reviewers gave TLAB 1/2 star..cmon, the first 30 mins of the movie should get it 3 stars at least..it was good entertainment, but these haters have already made up their minds to kill his movies..hope this guy stays real, and comes out all the more successful..we need people like him in the mainstream to counter all the shallow garbage that comes out of Hollywood.

  15. I just read the article of culture Warrior from Landon Palmer. The article discusses the topic of the incompentence of M. Night’s filmmaking on the last airbender. Its very very sad that some people will go as far is to say that M.Night is incompetent in his work. I could not understand the article myself, but some people buy this gentleman’s thesis. To tell a filmmaker after making so many movies that he is incompentent is very RUDE. M. Night has done great work on filmmaking just watch his films, wether you like them or not. Those films show NO SIGHS OF INCOMPETENCE,and we dont’ go to the movies to see that on a man’s work. We go to the movies to enjoy ourselfs and not look the film with predujece. I can only say a few words to Mr. Palmer EAT S@%T.

  16. I understand what he means to a degree here, but he doesn’t get that the reason he still gets work is that it works the other way around… I love M. Night Shyamalan in the sense that he’s got integrity and continues to bring an originality to cinema that is rarely seen these days to a point that i gave him a free pass sometimes (I even somehow found a way to love Lady in the Water). Unfortunately The Happening was absolutely terrible…. as was The Village and The Last Airbender. Im very excited to see what happens with “The Night Chronicles” when he can come up with a story and others can take over the writing and directing

    • Everyone has their favorite M. Night movies in the same way that everyone who has read all seven Narnia books has their favorites. I love all of Night’s movies with the exception of The Happening. It’s not difficult for me to do so, as I don’t bother with critics (the reviews of a few hundred individuals out of 6 BILLION people don’t say much to me).

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