6.7/10
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108 user 75 critic

The Shape of Things (2003)

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1:29 | Trailer

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A quiet, unassuming man begins to change in a major way as a result of meeting a new, art-student girlfriend, and his friends are unsettled by the transformation.

Director:

Neil LaBute

Writers:

Neil LaBute (play), Neil LaBute (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gretchen Mol ... Jenny
Paul Rudd ... Adam Sorenson
Rachel Weisz ... Evelyn Ann Thompson
Frederick Weller ... Phillip
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Seduction Is An Art

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Forma das coisas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$173,246, 11 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$732,241, 15 June 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play premiered in London, England at the Almedia Theatre on 24 May 2001. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Evelyn: He is a living example of people's obsession with the surface of things.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Door in the Floor (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
The Shape of Art as Manipulation
12 May 2003 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

Rachel Weisz seems to be everywhere. From a Soviet partisan in besieged Stalingrad in "Enemy at the Gates" to a self-assured single mom in "About a Boy" and most recently as a grifter in "Confidence," she inhabits her roles with deft assurance.

Here, in Neil La Bute's play-brought-to-the-screen, "The Shape of Things," Weisz is a disturbing, thought-provoking challenging character: an artist in pursuit of a master's degree but in reality a tester of uncharted waters as she combines the creation of art with her relationship with a man who, like a canvas, is transformed from without. In this case by her.

Paul Rudd is Adam, an art gallery guard who Evelyn, the art student, first encounters in a quirky exchange that suggests an unfolding comedy. There are humorous moments but a darker side slowly emerges as Evelyn carefully encourages Adam to shed his dorky exterior. There's nothing new, of course, with the theme, "Change if you love me," but here Adam's relationship with his close friends, Phillip (Fred Weller) and Jenny (very well acted by Gretchen Moll) takes some disturbing turns. Is Evelyn a catalyst or an agitator? Is her commitment to art part of her persona or its sum total? These questions are increasingly explored in this short film. Does the name "Adam" have some esoteric meaning here?

Some plays don't travel well to the screen. This one does. La Bute's play seems to have been little altered by him for a screenplay.

What is the place of ideas and intellectual experimentation in the creation and fostering of an intimate relationship? Are there boundaries that must be respected even if truth is sacrificed in the process? Does art illuminate or camouflage the reality of a relationship? No ready answers and no final ones here but the effort yields a thought-provoking study.

Rachel Weisz's emerging and brooding intensity is the anchor for this unusual film. She also produced the movie.

The score is by Elvis Costello. His fans will appreciate the soundtrack.

8/10.


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