LADY IN THE WATER is metafiction, fiction that comments on the very nature of fiction, fiction where structure and symbolism can comment on the story being told, even within that story. By building his film this way, he’s hoping that he’s bulletproofed it. After all, he says in the film that the only way you can truly understand a story like this is to approach it like a child, with your heart wide open, listening with innocent ears. And if the film fails, then that’s because you didn’t watch it right. And when he includes the character of Mr. Farber, that film critic played by Bob Balaban, and when he kills him, that’s his way of guaranteeing that any critic who hates the film hates it because of that scene. In a way, I admire his effort and the crafty nature of that. It’s ultimately a shell game, but it’s a smart one.