Opinion: It’s Probably Time to Just Let M. Night Shyamalan Do His Thing
This weekend will see the release of Split, which is the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan has been making films for nearly 25 year now, beginning with his self-financed 1992 debut film Praying with Anger. However, most would know the director for both the surprise success of The Sixth Sense in 1999, as well as his quick fall from grace, as his later efforts received poor reception from both critics and audiences.
It has now been 15 years since M. Night Shyamalan had an undisputed hit with 2002’s Signs and I think that it is time that audiences just lay off the man and let him make films that people can choose to see or not. Some of the things surrounding M. Night Shyamalan that I would like to see stop are:
- Snickering in movie theatres whenever his name pops up in a movie trailer.
- Sarcastically trying to guess what the twist in his films are going to be.
- Purposely mispronouncing and making fun of the India-born Shyamalan’s name.
With people focused so much on diversity in movies these days, they should should respect the fact that M. Night Shyamalan is a non-white director, who found success. Whether or not you like his recent films, M. Night Shyamalan still received a Best Director Oscar nomination in 2000, long before the #OscarsSoWhite debate was even a thing. Sure, the Academy was probably caught up in the surprising success of The Sixth Sense in the summer of 1999, but you can still say that this Indian man raised in Philadelphia managed to be nominated alongside the likes of Sam Mendes, Spike Jonze, Lasse Hallström, and Michael Mann.
Even after M. Night Shyamalan fell out of favour with audiences, I never stopped going to his films. While some films I liked better than others, I can still unapologetically say that I am a fan of M. Night Shymalan. Why most most of the public probably doesn’t feel the same that I do and will likely end up skipping Split, just because of the name attached to it, I do think the time has come to stop mocking M Night Shyamalan and celebrate him as a non-white director, who has been allowed to make movies his way for a quarter of a century.