From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fable set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
First Best Picture winner since The Artist (2011) to not receive an award for its screenplay. (The film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.) See more »
When Strickland is shooting at the van with his revolver, bullet shell casings are heard hitting and ringing on the cement floor like an automatic pistol. See more »
If I spoke about it - if I did - what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems. In the last days of a fair prince's reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast, but far from everything else. Or, I don't know... Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to ...
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Self-congratulatory and Gratuitous Despite Technical Triumph
Del Toro's gift for effective story-telling cannot be denied. However, the film plays perfectly into mainstream Hollywood sensibilities, does not have a profound artistic vision, and fails to challenge the audience in any meaningful way. It has the quintessential villain in the liberal cultural imagination today - a racist, sexist, ableist, psychopathic white man in the 60s. He lives in a bourgeois suburban neighborhood and has the quintessential white nuclear family. The fact that he is made to exhibit psychopathic behaviors is of course a way to obscure the irreducibly cultural, structural, and political conditions that the film purports to problematize. The equally cut-and-dry story is about people living at the margins of society bonding over their mutually subjugated status. The self-congratulatory moralistic undertone of this film suspends any need for serious cultural reflection. Shown to conservatives, the film is unlikely to have any converts to progressive politics. Shown to liberals, it will only confirm their pre-established identitarian convictions. Sprinkled with some gratuitous violence, it is the perfect candidate for the Oscars - a polished, glib, pandering, ostensibly radical fairy tale that ultimately does not have any enduring contribution to an already mediocre culture.
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