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"LADY IN THE WATER"
(2006) (Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Moderate *Heavy Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Moderate Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Horror: A modest apartment complex manager tries to assemble a group of tenants to assist a fairy tale nymph in accomplishing her goal and help her return to her watery home.
PLOT:
Cleveland Heep (PAUL GIAMATTI) is the manager and superintendent for the Cove Apartments in Philadelphia. Something of a lowly and modest man with a stutter, he lives on the grounds and spends most of his time making repairs for the various tenants. Among them is crossword puzzler master Mr. Dury (JEFFREY WRIGHT) and his son Joey (NOAH GRAY-CABEY); animal lover and former author Mrs. Bell (MARY BETH HURT); and intellectual recluse Mr. Leeds (BILL IRWIN).

Bodybuilder Reggie (FREDDY RODRIGUEZ) is only bulking up on one side of his body; Korean college student Young-Soon Choi (CINDY CHEUNG) lives there with her traditional mom (JUNE KYOKO LU) who doesn't speak English, while political writer Vick Ran (M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN) shares his place with his sister Anna (SARITA CHOUDHURY). The newest tenant is book and film critic Mr. Farber (BOB BALABAN) who seems to want to be left alone.

Believing someone's been swimming in the pool after hours and against the rules, Cleveland thinks he's caught the person, but he ends up falling into the pool and nearly drowns. He's saved by a mysterious woman named Story (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD) who says she's a sea nymph known as a Narf from the Blue World. She's there to cause an awakening in a certain person, but doesn't know who that is. Complicating matters is a wolf-type creature known as a scrunt that lives in the grass and can't be seen by humans except via a mirror.

Cleveland never questions this or his learning from Young-Soon that various people there are predestined to assist her in avoiding the scrunt, find the chosen person and then prepare to return to her world via an eagle that will transport her. Accordingly, he then sets out to help her by assembling those people so that she can succeed at the task at hand before time runs out.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some teens might be intrigued by it, especially if they're fans of the director and/or anyone in the cast, but younger kids otherwise probably won't have much interest in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some frightening sequences.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PAUL GIAMATTI plays a lowly and modest apartment complex manager who's hiding from a tragic past but finds himself with a new purpose when Story comes into his life. He then sets out to protect her from the scrunt while helping her accomplish her task and then get back home
  • BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD plays the mysterious sea nymph who's arrived to enlighten one human and hopefully make things better for their species.
  • JEFFREY WRIGHT plays a tenant who's a master at solving crossword puzzles.
  • NOAH GRAY-CABEY plays his son who sees interesting signs in cereal box artwork.
  • BOB BALABAN plays a reserved book and film critic who's just moved into the complex and pretty much wants to be left alone.
  • CINDY CHEUNG plays a slightly provocative Korean college student who lives with her traditional mother and serves as a translator between her and Cleveland.
  • JUNE KYOKO LU plays her mother who imparts information about the Eastern bedtime story that seems to be unfolding in their complex.
  • M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN plays an idealistic writer who's penning his philosophical beliefs and finds his life changed by Story's appearance.
  • SARITA CHOUDHURY plays his outgoing sister who lives with him.
  • FREDDY RODRIGUEZ plays a bodybuilder tenant who's only bulking up one side of his body.
  • BILL IRWIN plays an intellectual recluse who keeps to himself until the story starts to unfold.
  • MARY BETH HURT plays an animal lover and former writer who lives in the complex.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this suspenseful drama. Profanity consists of a few minor expletives, while a handful of colorful phrases are also uttered. A young woman is seen in just a man's shirt (prompting one benign sexually related comment) and is otherwise fully nude just off camera (a man sees her that way, but nothing sexual ever occurs), while the camera focuses on a young woman's clothed rear end.

    Various scenes involving a supernatural wolf-like creature (and its attacks on several characters) and other moments of potential peril may be unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such mayhem (including some scenes that might induce a jump from one's seat). Those attacks presumably leave one man dead, while others result in some bloody scrapes on a woman's legs.

    Some drinking occurs at a party and one man appears somewhat intoxicated, while various tenants smoke in their apartment despite being told that's against the rules. Some other bad attitudes are also present, one character stutters (a thematic element), and there's talk of his family having been murdered in the past.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Anna makes the indication with her hand that Story has been drinking (she's hasn't).
  • People have beer at a party, and Mr. Farber later appears to be intoxicated as he slightly stumbles down a hallway carrying a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A tenant says that her husband is in the bathroom and has "gas problems," as well as "a growth on his ass."
  • Story has bloody scrapes and scratches on her legs from an unseen encounter with the scrunt.
  • As others are distracted, the scrunt grabs Story from an outdoor party and drags her deep into the thick grass, with Cleveland just managing to save her. She then has more bloody scrapes on her legs from that.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may take offense at what seems like stereotypical Korean characters (the college student and her traditional mother).
  • A number of tenants simultaneously smoke in the same apartment, despite that being against the rules and Cleveland reminding them of just that.
  • As Mr. Drury tries to find clues in a crossword puzzle, one person comments on him hearing the voice of God through that puzzle (some viewers might not like that reference and its tone).
  • Asked about a movie he's just seen, Mr. Farber says it "sucked."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material, but less so (if at all) to older viewers.
  • Cleveland tries and apparently succeeds at killing a large insect of some sort under a tenant's sink, but we don't see it or the impact (just the motion of his jabs). This is played for comedy, but those afraid of big bugs might find it unsettling.
  • We see that something is moving about in the non-lit pool at night, and Cleveland goes to investigate. A figure then pops up out of the water and grabs something before submerging again. Cleveland gets nervous that a person might be drowning, so he goes into the water and searches, but finds no one. He then gets out, slips on the wet surface, lands hard on it, and then rolls into the water. We then see his hand sink below the surface, but the next scene shows him safe in his apartment (having been saved by Story -- not seen).
  • We hear sounds of the wolf-like scrunt, see its POV, and then see its shadowy figure in the nighttime grass. As Cleveland carries Story outside, the creature slowly starts at them and then picks up its pace, prompting Cleveland to rush back inside while still carrying Story. We then again see the creature's POV looking at his place.
  • We briefly see a scrunt in the grass at night.
  • Story has bloody scrapes and scratches on her legs from an unseen encounter with the scrunt. As Cleveland tends to her, the scrunt suddenly blasts through the glass near them, biting at them with its large mouth and sharp teeth (they race up the stairwell to safety).
  • Cleveland goes to the bottom of the pool, removes a grate, and swims into Story's earthy, but submerged lair. Once he finds something that will heal her wounds, he finds himself trapped in the room after its "hatch" has closed. He must draw some air from an upside down turned glass, but eventually pries the hatch open, gets back into the pool and then surfaces.
  • A character is told that he'll be murdered in the future for his literary work (not as a threat).
  • Talking to him over a walkie-talkie, Story tells Cleveland that the only way he can see a scrunt is to view it via a mirror. Cleveland does just that and sees the glowing red eyes. She then tells him to walk backwards toward it and then turn and face it, believing him to be the Guardian and that the scrunt won't be able to harm him. After saying a phrase to challenge the beast, it rises up out of the grass and menacingly approaches him, with her telling Cleveland to keep looking into its eyes and that it will stop or back away. But it keeps coming, prompting her to yell into the radio "Run!"
  • We see the scrunt prowling about outside the complex.
  • As others are distracted, the scrunt grabs Story from an outdoor party and drags her deep into the thick grass, with Cleveland just managing to save her. She then has more bloody scrapes on her legs from that.
  • As a door to the complex slowly closes, the scrunt suddenly races by and gets inside.
  • While seemingly intoxicated, Mr. Farber encounters the scrunt in a dimly lit hallway. First thinking it's a dog, he tries to rationalize what he's seeing through his film knowledge, but the creature keeps menacingly approaching him. It then charges and we see just his upper body being thrashed about before being pulled down out of the camera shot (he's presumably killed, but we don't see anything else).
  • We see a reflection of the scrunt in the glass of a clothes dryer (the steam of its breath fogs up the glass).
  • Story appears to be dead after a scrunt attack (she's very pale and limp), but Cleveland manages to bring her back to life.
  • As the others prepare to see Story off, we see the scrunt digging at a door from the inside to get out at them. It then does and races out, but some odd and large monkey creatures jump down from the trees and attack the scrunt, eventually dragging it away.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • In some primitive drawings during the opening credits, we see images of arrows and spears.
  • We see some military helicopters on the TV news.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You ass," "Snap," "Bloody," "Sucked" and what sounded like "Shut up."
  • Some kids may be enticed to try to breathe air from an upside down turned glass beneath the water in a swimming pool.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The complex's sprinklers suddenly come on.
  • The scrunt's head suddenly blasts through some glass near Cleveland and Story.
  • As the scrunt is outside, the sprinklers suddenly come on.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 asses, 3 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use of "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The camera focuses in tight on the clothed butt of Young-Soon as she walks along. We also see that she's wearing a bra or bikini top below a crop-top, and thus see a lot of her bare back (but not the front).
  • Wearing just one of Cleveland's shirts, we see a lot of Story's bare legs as she sits and then snuggles up with him in his place, but nothing that's explicit.
  • Story drops her shirt and gets into the shower, but we don't see any nudity. Later, however, she steps out in front of Cleveland fully nude (he sees everything and tells her to cover herself, while we only see part of her leg (the back of the knee) in the foreground of the shot.
  • We see Young-Soon in a bikini top that doesn't show any cleavage.
  • Seeing that Story is wearing just Cleveland's shirt and is otherwise naked beneath it, Anna jokingly states that Cleveland is a "player."
  • We see an overhead shot of Story crouched in the shower, but we don't see anything explicit. Later, we see her in the same place with a towel wrapped around her.
  • SMOKING
  • A number of tenants collectively smoke in several scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Cleveland's family was murdered sometime in the past.
  • Cleveland talks to his dead family in the abstract while tending to Story.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Stuttering.
  • We hear that Cleveland's family was murdered sometime in the past.
  • The comment that all beings here have a purpose.
  • The comment that the moral of a bedtime story is that the characters are never told who they are.
  • The question of whether man deserves to be saved.
  • The comment that people are not alone in the world and are all connected.
  • The notion of people finding their purpose in life.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In some primitive drawings during the opening credits, we see the outline of a wolf-type creature holding the outline of a limp nymph in its mouth.
  • Cleveland tries and apparently succeeds at killing a large insect of some sort under a tenant's sink, but we don't see it or the impact (just the motion of his jabs).
  • We briefly see war-related footage on a TV (explosions seen from a distance).
  • Story has bloody scrapes and scratches on her legs from an unseen encounter with the scrunt. As Cleveland tends to her, the scrunt suddenly blasts through the glass near them, biting at them with its large mouth and sharp teeth (they race up the stairwell to safety).
  • As others are distracted, the scrunt grabs Story from an outdoor party and drags her deep into the thick grass, with Cleveland just managing to save her. She then has more bloody scrapes on her legs from that.
  • While seemingly intoxicated, Mr. Farber encounters the scrunt in a dimly lit hallway. First thinking it's a dog, he tries to rationalize what he's seeing through his film knowledge, but the creature keeps menacingly approaching him. It then charges and we see just his upper body being thrashed about before being pulled down out of the camera shot (he's presumably killed, but we don't see anything else).
  • As the others prepare to see Story off, we see the scrunt digging at a door from the inside to get out at them. It then does and races out, but some odd and large monkey creatures jump down from the trees and attack the scrunt, eventually dragging it away.



  • Reviewed July 17, 2006 / Posted July 21, 2006

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