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The Shape of Water (2017)

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The Shape of Water (2017)

The film could best be described as an R-rated adult fairy tale. It has evidently garnered Hollywood's imprimatur as one of this year's "it" films, which will likely be reflected on Oscar night.

The acting and technical craft work were first rate, creating technicolor characters and spooky moods. There are Sally Hawkins as the lonely mute girl; Richard Jenkins as the girl's neighbor and confidant; Michael Shannon as the evil Colonel; Octavia Spencer as the girl's co-worker; and Michael Stuhlbarg as the soviet spy with a heart.

But the sole popularity of the film will depend upon it's emotional appeal to those captured by the poignant story of a poor mute girl who finds love and fulfillment with a humanoid amphibian; the Cinderella meets The Creature from the Black Lagoon aspect. For those focusing on the story line, it might seem more nearly like a cliche-ridden farce-- a DC Comics treatment of a fairy tale.


Being so similar to the melodrama of silent films, "Water" could have almost been shot without dialogue. We have the pitiful damsel, Elisa, wonderfully played by Sally Hawkins. Next is the Simon Legree character, Col. Strickland, who is overwritten to the extreme that anyone capable of that degree of sadistic viciousness could only be locked in an institution for the criminally insane. Michael Shannon outdoes himself in this role that is perfectly in his wheel house. Richard Jenkins as Giles, the other noteworthy fine portrayal behind Hawkins', provides another downtrodden character to befriend Elisa, and who we don't realize is the obligatory gay until another man recoils from his tender touch (the Neanderthal homophobe!).

Moving ahead to the talkie era, as the co-worker we have a Hattie McDaniel character ("You know ain't none of them men any good, honey!") played by Octavia Spencer. Rounding out the top five, Michael Stuhlbarg plays the mad scientist, Dr. Hoffstetler, who also doubles as a --what else-- evil Russian spy. If Hitchcock's belief is true that the better the villain the better the movie, then in a movie with a villain for the ages (and other nasties thrown in to boot) will be a shoo-in for greatness.

There will likely be two general reactions to this film. The first, like my wife's, representing the instinctual female point of view, will be an identification with the Elisa character, and an empathetic arousal over Elisa's finding tenderness and love from a beast who carries her away to happiness in the world's waterways. The second , like mine, might be a recognition that the fairy tale of a beast in shining armor has its tender side, but that the other facets of the story are ridiculous to the point of silliness. After all, if one is willing to take the love story aspect seriously then it's a likely that one could also take in stride the similar preposterous other portions. But if the entire premise seems ridiculous then none of it would be particularly digestible.

And finally, Hollywood has in recent years reached nearly to the rock bottom of sexual deviance and aberration themes. The only things left were bestiality and necrophilia. Evidently they've decided to normalize the former, and leave the latter for a future trump card. At least in Beauty and the Beast, the beast returns to human form, whereas in The Shape of Water we have full-on bestiality. We're left with the proposition that lonely introverted people can find emotional and sexual fulfillment with animals. And that its pursuit is acceptable and touching.

Hide your pets, folks!

Doc's rating: 7/10 for acting/crafts/technical; 3/10 for story; average 5/10



LOL. Doctor, your treatment hit the spot! So well done!! Of course, I didn't even open this movie up for viewing for the exact reasons you so eloquently and yet so softly stated. Your review was a pleasure to read and caused me to burst out laughing!



doubledenim's Avatar
“Sugar is the most important thing in my life…”
If SoW has Hollywood's imprimatur, I'd love to hear what you thought of 3 Billboards.



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I disagree Camo. I really liked Shannon and Octavia Spencer. And the beauty of the film is worth a lot for me. It's basically my 2017 equivalent of last year's Arrival, which I liked a ton.

But I do understand if someone doesn't like it that much due to the storyline. But I enjoyed it.



I disagree Camo. I really liked Shannon and Octavia Spencer. And the beauty of the film is worth a lot for me. It's basically my 2017 equivalent of last year's Arrival, which I liked a ton.

But I do understand if someone doesn't like it that much due to the storyline. But I enjoyed it.
I deleted my post because i thought there was no point in being negative about a film with some worth when garbage like Three Billboards is being praised so heavily on this site.

I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with though? I said Shannon was good and i didn't even mention Spencer, she was good too, both of them always are. I also said it was gorgeous. Just think all of the characters were hilariously terrible, it's Del Toro so it's a fantasy film and it's not supposed to be right but the government baddies was just not well depicted in a fantasy or realistic way.



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I deleted my post because i thought there was no point in being negative about a film with some worth when garbage like Three Billboards is being praised so heavily on this site.

I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with though? I said Shannon was good and i didn't even mention Spencer, she was good too, both of them always are. I also said it was gorgeous. Just think all of the characters were hilariously terrible, it's Del Toro so it's a fantasy film and it's not supposed to be right but the government baddies was just not well depicted in a fantasy or realistic way.
You people and your deleting of posts



I deleted my post because i thought there was no point in being negative about a film with some worth when garbage like Three Billboards is being praised so heavily on this site.

I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with though? I said Shannon was good and i didn't even mention Spencer, she was good too, both of them always are. I also said it was gorgeous. Just think all of the characters were hilariously terrible, it's Del Toro so it's a fantasy film and it's not supposed to be right but the government baddies was just not well depicted in a fantasy or realistic way.
I kind of agree with Camo actually. I LOVE Shannon in the film and loved the film overall but I too wish it were a little less heavy-handed in how it depicted good vs. evil, which I think is what Camo is trying to say. Very obvious attempts to show the bad guys as bad and the good guys as good, with little in the middle. It's forgivable for me because the great stuff in the film is so freaking great and del Toro is amazing but yeah, that heavy-handedness is what keeps the movie from being a four and a half for me and while I wouldn't call the problems I had "hilariously terrible" personally, I get where Camo is coming from.



I kind of agree with Camo actually. I LOVE Shannon in the film and loved the film overall but I too wish it were a little less heavy-handed in how it depicted good vs. evil, which I think is what Camo is trying to say. Very obvious attempts to show the bad guys as bad and the good guys as good, with little in the middle. It's forgivable for me because the great stuff in the film is so freaking great and del Toro is amazing but yeah, that heavy-handedness is what keeps the movie from being a four and a half for me and while I wouldn't call the problems I had "hilariously terrible" personally, I get where Camo is coming from.
Yeah, it's basically along those lines. Felt like if we followed the awful govermnent characters in E.T to me. I gave it
because it's gorgeous, really sweet and the performances are good (even though i don't think any of the characters are well drawn) but i think if i was trying to be more objective i'd give it at least a popcorn less. Still it's very enjoyable and i'm glad to see Del Toro back to form despite it's flaws.

I actually watched this right after it. Was one of Del Toro's first short films, was pretty funny but it looked horrible as you'd expect with such an early film.



Raven73's Avatar
Boldly going.

in The Shape of Water we have full-on bestiality. We're left with the proposition that lonely introverted people can find emotional and sexual fulfillment with animals. And that its pursuit is acceptable and touching.


Hide your pets, folks!
Can we say without a doubt that the fish-man was really an animal? Elisa believed he was sentient.



doubledenim's Avatar
“Sugar is the most important thing in my life…”
I wanted to bang Daryl Hannah in Splash. I was 5 at the time. Still do.



All good people are asleep and dreaming.
The bestiality accusation is right out of white supremacy crap against miscegenation.
Huh? She has sex with the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Unless she's the Creature from the Black Lagoon, how is it not bestiality? What if it was a lab monkey?



You can't win an argument just by being right!
I wanted to bang Daryl Hannah in Splash. I was 5 at the time. Still do.
But ummm, where would you ummm

Never mind. Too much for my tiny brain to want to deal with at the moment.



All good people are asleep and dreaming.
Hey, maybe I was wrong about the bestiality thing. The claw marks on her neck are gills and she's like Man From Atlantis.



Oh yeah, The Atlantic Ocean is right next to D.C., there is no need to put the Creature From The Black Lagoon in your bathtub, not like it's Nebraska.



Hello. This was a good review. I would give 7/10 for acting, 8/10 for story and 8/10 overall. The deep bond between the creature and Elisa makes my heart weep. The plot is very creative, and the moral of this movie can mean that we don’t love a being by his appearance, but rather personality. Have a good day!



I saw this movie because I want to see how good Sally Hawkins is since when Frances McDormand won the golden globe or the BAFTA it is always "Sally Hawkins should have won" so I pretty much focus on her performance in the film. I think The Shape of Water is alright, not as compelling and unpredictable as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Sally Hawkins' performance was incredible. I dont mind if she win the oscar (although it is highly unlikely). What bug me the most is Sally Hawkins pointless nude scene in the beginning. I hope they dont do that to attract viewers :v