The Shape of Things (2003)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  16 May 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 9,415 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 110 user | 76 critic | 35 from

Quiet, unassuming Adam is changing in a major way, thanks to his new girlfriend, art student Evelyn. Adam's friends are a little freaked by the transformation.



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Complete credited cast:


While visiting an art museum, a nerdy college student named Adam meets an iconoclastic artist named Evelyn and is instantly smitten. As their relationship develops, she gradually encourages Adam to change in various ways that surprise his older friends, Jenny and Philip. However, as events progress, Evelyn's antics become darker and darker as her influence begins to twist Adam and his friends in hurtful ways. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

student | friend | art | museum | statue | See All (106) »


Seduction Is An Art


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

16 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Forma das coisas  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$173,246 (USA) (9 May 2003)


$732,241 (USA) (13 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Rudd lost 25 pounds for the film. See more »


In the park scene where Adam and Jenny kiss, Adam's nose looks normal, but at this point he hasn't had the surgery yet. The surgery happens in the next scene. See more »


Adam: You're sick.
Phillip: Somewhat, yeah. But I'm nice-looking... which makes up for a lot.
See more »


References The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) See more »


This Year's Girl
Written by Elvis Costello
Performed by Elvis Costello and The Attractions
Courtesy of Demon Music Group, Ltd., by Elvis Costello
By Arrangement with Rhino Entertainment Co. and Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

An intelligent, sophisticated comedy that gets off to a slightly lame start but ends brilliantly
11 December 2007 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

After the first 30 minutes I felt like the film lacked energy. The pace was a little too slow for my taste, and the intensity too low. I wanted it to be snappier, more sizzling.

But then, about halfway through, it got really interesting. The second half, although it still suffers from some pacing problems, makes up for the first. And then the third act is one of the most brilliant and satisfying third acts I saw in a long time. The ending brings together all of the elements and themes that were planted throughout the movie (our obsession with the way things look, the line between art and real life) to form insights about our lives that are as brutal as they are true.

I am generally fond of Neil LaBute's work - most of the time his works contain more than what they initially seem to be (I haven't see "The Wicker Man" remake yet, but I heard it was horrible). Here, what starts off as your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy/drama, develops into a cynic's paradise, presenting insights into our lives which are as brutal as they are true.

Three of the four actors do a splendid job (Weisz, Rudd & Mol). I especially liked Paul Rudd's performance, and the way his character changes throughout. All three, and especially Rachel Weisz, are convincing in their roles, and deliver multi-layered performances with lots of subtext. Fred Weller's performance leaves something to be desired, but the fact that his role is well written somewhat makes up for that. LaBute has successfully made all four characters three-dimensional and they feel like real people.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty great movie, certainly entertaining, and an important one to watch and analyze if you are into writing, directing or acting. Somewher, though, I feel like it didn't live up to its full potential. This script, if directed with more intensity, could have become one of my favorite movies, up there with films such as "Closer", "Glengary Glen Ross" or "Oleanna". Maybe it's the transition from the stage to the screen that made LaBute feel like he should make everything more minimalistic and restrained. But it's definitely worth checking out.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Whispered bostonfilm3
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Why does Adam love Evelyn? matt68362
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