A Letter To: M. Night Shyamalan


Dear M. Night Shyamalan,

I don’t know how to even begin on what I have to say. Well, first I am huge fan. I know you’ve had a great share of criticism in the recent years. You could say it can happen to anyone but it is not fair to shoot at one’s imagination and art. Nothing and no one is perfect, therefore people should not expect perfection.

Although, The Happening was slightly disappointing, the story had a great potential. It is actually after that and knowing that your next project was The Last Airbender that I stopped watching your upcoming films. But again this conclusion arises from the perfection of your previous works. And in a way, this makes The Sixth Sense, your most famous movie, an even more amazing and unique masterpiece.

Indeed, inspiration is rare sometimes, and I guess it can be even rarer when you are the maestro of a story from its beginning to its end. You not only direct your films but you also write them, produce them most of the time, and even make an appearance sometimes. This is hard work which cannot be done by anyone; it requires a great mind and special skills.

Also, your stories are filled with reflections and beauty. They inspire others, they make people think. Unfortunately this is less and less common in the Hollywood cinematic world these days. Plus, everyone can criticise but not many can create. I must admit I used to have a clear aversion from Unbreakable until recently but I think I couldn’t understand it properly before- it was too abstract.

Some talk about loopholes and mistakes in your work such as in Signs. I could debate all night with those people, but I think they miss the major feature of this film. It isn’t simply a science-fiction movie about aliens invading earth, it is a glance at what is faith, and question what makes you a believer.

Indeed, the philosophical message always comes first in your works. I might be biased though as my first cinematic crush was Signs; I couldn’t get enough of that movie. Indeed, all of them from The Sixth Sense to Lady in the Water make me inspired each time I’m watching them. And that is, in my opinion, how you distinguish the talented. They don’t only offer some entertained hours, they resonate with a part of you.

Moreover, you succeed in making a final and grandiose twist each time. What I love the most about this characteristic feature of yours is that you can find clues throughout the movie that suggest the ending, but you lead the audience in a certain direction. You can bring the audience wherever you want them to be, I don’t know many other directors who are able to do that.

Truly, your directing skills are exquisite. You have a unique voice, all the tiny details are thought out. Every single shot has a reason to be there, they aren’t random. You use symbolism through colours, cinematography, reflections, only to cite a few examples, which can all be found in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and The Village. This is one many reasons for why you are my favourite director.

The Village and Lady in the Water are my favourites. The former because I connect deeply with the concepts developed in the film, and the philosophy in it which cannot avoid the deepest roots of human nature. Plus it offered long hours of debate with my movie mate, my father. And it still continues to do so actually- you must let us know if at the end, they decide to keep the Village as it is.

The latter might be tough to explain. As an aspiring writer myself, I think that I have had a glimpse at what is lack of inspiration, the power of words, and the problem of people thinking they know your story better than you do, who brush off your ideas based purely on the fact that it is not what they expected, without even trying to understand what made you write them. And that is what I retained from this movie, for once it is a criticism from the author to the critic.

Finally, thank you. I cannot wait to watch your upcoming film, Split (2017). If it is indeed the thematic sequel of Unbreakable then it can only be the movie that your fans are waiting for.



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Second year Business Student. Loves Sherlock, writing, books and coffee.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Rechtien on

    Concerning MNS and his work, “Split “was a masterpiece. Casting was as good as it gets and better. Acting was unbelievable. Sound design was killer. The flashbacks scenes of the little girl told us enough for it to greatly affect the main narrative and inform us about the protagonist. There is just not enough I can say about the genius of this film. As a former psychotherapist who worked with victims of inescapable trauma as children (becoming D.I.D. or “multiple” for survival) as well as victims of familial sex abuse (often scene in the personal history of “cutters”), the story was… well, I’ve said it. This film showed me that MNS is intelligent as well as a creative genius.

    I have to admit, though, the first time I saw it I didn’t understand the Bruce Willis ending at all, but now that the 3rd film of the “Trilogy” has been released I can appreciate it.

    I wish I could get his input on a script /story I am writing, it’s extremely complex and I’m in over my head. It’s nothing like Split and not horror, but somehow I know he’d get it. It is social realism and confronts real issues that are hard for us “normies” to understand – like he did with DID, ongoing familial sex abuse, and cutting. But he did it in such a genius way that the story wasn’t actually about those things but about 2 people that are survivors trying to survive. Wow! Amazing.

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