The Shape of Water (movie)

Anyone else seen Guillermo Del Toro’s latest? I have . . .thoughts, and no one around here has seen it yet (which makes sense, since they were mostly Christmasing).

I’m not sure what to make of it. Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it; it was just in a class all it’s own (homage to Creature from the Black Lagoon not withstanding).

It’s high on my list. I thought Pan’s Labyrinth was absolutely brilliant, and am looking forward to seeing this one. The lead actress looks like she was born to play this part!

Yes, John M. , Sally Hawkins is brilliant in this. Actually, every performance is top notch. I too loved Pan, but just a heads up, this is nothing like it. I don’t know how to describe it without spoilers, but it has a completely different feel. That’s why I’m anxious to discuss it with someone; I’m not entirely sure *what *to make of it :o

I saw a “making of…” short about the film a few weeks ago. I think it was on HBO. I was interested in it before, and that made me even more interested. I’ll probably see it early next week when everyone is back at work and the theaters aren’t so full.

I saw it last week. It’s a great film, done well in every way. It functions of so many levels - a magical fantasy about real people, an unabashedly sentimental love story, a critique of 1950s prejudices without fawning or sacrificing nostalgia.

With the exception of Strickland, the characters all have remarkable depth - and Strickland is an utter son of a bitch. Del Toro knows that it’s better not to give a character like too much depth so the audience can give him every erg of their hate.

The film also looks gorgeous, but mostly through it’s use of mundane objects. With the exception of the Gill-man (I guess they’re calling him “Amphibian Man” now), every object in the film is ordinary, but arranged and photographed in striking and beautiful ways.

So, yeah, I guess you could say I liked it.

Be sure to catch the homage to Chaney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, BTW. Another nice touch.

Good point about Michael Shannon’s character. A completely over the top villain, and the perfect choice of actor to play him Was his necrotic fingers symbolic of anything specific? It was effective but I wondered about the thinking behind it

Some thoughts I have:

Do you think it might have been better to show less of the AM? I don’t mean limit the amount of scenes with him in them, but actually just give us glimpses here and there without showing him entirely, or at least not until much later in. :slight_smile: That being said, I love his expressive eyes :slight_smile: Also, I think I would have preferred not to have included the dance sequence or Eliza explaining how she had sex with him. I guess what I’m getting at is that those elements seemed too . . .literal(?) for the fairy tale premise.

On your second spoiler point,

it hasn’t been del Toro’s way to suggest instead of showing. Going back to Cronos and through Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy movies, the man likes his visuals. I think it works here, especially since we already have a good idea of what the AM looks like going in. YMMV.

On your first spoiler point.

Beats me. The necrotic fingers reminded me of Jose Canseco, though. Maybe it’s a way to show how rotten a “perfect” 50s hero and family man (like John Agar in Revenge of the Creature) is really rotten at the core, like Agar allegedly was in his marriage to Shirley Temple? Total guess.

Only because Elisa is good at charades.

I just saw it today with my wife, and I loved it. This is definitely a big screen movie; Del Toro loves spectacle, including monsters and color. It felt very much to me like a French movie, reminded me a lot of City of Lost Children, one of my all-time favorite movies.

If I needed to describe it to someone, I’d say it was like E.T. for grownups.

I kept thinking of *Amelie, *myself! (Same director as Lost Children – well, kinda.)

I loved The Shape of Water – gorgeous to look at, great performances, and enough weirdness/plot twists to keep me hooked.

Some spoiler-y observations/opinions:

[spoiler]A strong undercurrent of leftish politics, as in Pan’s Labyrinth.

Interesting, well-rounded female characters with agency, which felt very “right” for December 2017.

Was very happy that Zelda took heroic action at key points. Octavia Spencer’s performance, and the screenplay, really took that character way deeper than the “POC maid/housekeeper/cleaner who talks shit” cliche.

Contra one comment above, I was glad they addressed the Asset’s sexual equipment semi-explicitly – I, for one, was wondering about it, given that we see his Barbie crotch quite a lot. It also felt like something Zelda and Eliza would naturally talk about. Just my opinion, though.

(On the topic of sex: how did people feel about the bathtub masturbation scenes? I started off saying “Whoah, TMI,” but I think it contributed to making Eliza more interesting/realistic. She has hidden depths, like a real person.)

The one subplot I got a bit bored with was the pie guy crush. I feel like it could have been done more deftly and quickly. The pie shop (and pie) looked great, though, like all the other sets/props.[/spoiler]

Any objections to going full-on open spoilers from here on out? I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read this thread but wanting to avoid spoilers. I’ll respond to Snoe’s interesting observations tomorrow, open unless people holler otherwise :).

Okay, removing spoilers

At first I thought the masturbation scene was some sort of “look at our hard R rating!” but I think it ties in pretty well with what you said about agency. Traditional Beauty and the Beast stories are all about taming male sexuality with feminine gentleness and care. This movie establishes at the outset that Elisa’s sexuality is a big deal for her, and she’s definitely the one who pursues a relationship here, and her interests in Charlie* aren’t platonic even at the outset.

Interesting note: the four protagonists were a mute woman, a gay man, a black woman, and a communist. The only straight white male able-bodied patriot in the movie is the antagonist. Which makes sense: this is a quintessential movie about misfits.

  • read an article, said this was the critter’s on-set name, based on the tuna, and I loved it.

Alexandre Desplat’s score was, to me, the star of the movie, but only just. The set designs, even the rundown apartment building and the movie theater, were gorgeous and beautifully appointed. Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins were fantastic. The movie is about alone-ness, loneliness, and longing, and it delivered. I also thought the actor playing the Soviet spy did an outstanding job. And his being torn between patriotism and the devotion to science and knowledge was well done. All in all, almost flawless. Even the little things made this such a full movie. The guy at the bus bench with the half eaten cake, the scene where the well dressed black couple get kicked out of the pie shop, the inability of Bernie to express his feelings for Giles (I wonder if Giles had done something to make Bernie get him fired, of if he was just afraid of his own feelings.) Also, the fact that, as despicable as Michael Shannon was (And man, I love him in everything), his family adored him.

BTW, I read something about how Del Toro was obsessed with making the aqua man’s butt look just right.

This is exactly what I thought. The character is actually rotting from within, no matter how tough he appears on the outside.I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, even though I never watch horror and had to hide my eyes during several of the most gory scenes. It had all the lush romanticism of La La Land, but had an actual story, believable characters (what a beautiful performance from Richard Jenkins!) and a believable romance, along with making a strong point about outsiders. It made me think about the recent Dope thread about feeling like an outsider.

Well, me. But it’s all right. I’m late.

Is this movie scary? Pan’s Labyrinth was gorgeous, but it scared the shit out of me. I had to step out of the theater twice (both during fascist torture scenes…) But the creepy-ass eyeball creature was awesome.

I didn’t find it scary, just gross. The violent scenes didn’t provoke my anxiety; it was more like visceral disgust. There are a few mercifully brief fascist torture scenes – as I said earlier, I had to hide my eyes. But as someone who cannot handle an actual horror movie, I found it tolerable, and the beauty and romance more than made up for the violence.

I will say that if you can’t stand the sight of blood, this is not the movie for you.

The same actor who played that creepy-ass eyeball creature* is one of the stars of Shape of Water! You might be able to guess which character he plays. :wink:

My take on “scariness”: there’s less body horror than in Pan’s Labyrinth, and I think there’s significantly less on-screen violence, too. As SpoilerVirgin points out, there is quite a lot of blood/aftereffects of violence.

Overall, it’s at least slightly less scary than Pan’s, IMHO. It helps that the protagonist is not a child.

*My girlfriend refers to it as the “EYES … where there shouldn’t BE eyes” monster. His name, apparently, is The Pale Man. (I think the scariest part about him is his tummy. [shudder])

It is nowhere near as terrifying as Pan’s Labyrinth, which I figure is one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen, one of the best fantasies I’ve seen, and the best fantasy horror ever made.

Dread, though? I felt a physical dread for a good section of the movie. Back to spoilers:

After Charlie was rescued, and before Strickland tracked him down, you knew what was gonna happen: you have, after all, seen ET and every other movie of this sort ever made. But if you’ve also seen Pan’s Labyrinth, you know Del Toro is fine with making the ending unbearably tragic: unlike those other movies, there’s no guarantee that things will turn out all right. So after the rescue I was almost sick with dread, knowing that the confrontation would come but not knowing how it’d turn out.

Short: be prepared to turn your eyes away during some of the grosser bits–nothing as bad as fascist torture, but pretty bad. Be prepared for dread. Don’t be prepared for Pan’s Labyrinth-level horror.

I saw it this afternoon. While there were things I liked about it, the sentimentality was too much for me, and the antagonist was so awful that he was something of a cartoon character.

I did like the look of the movie, although some of it was anachronistic (the lab looked like something from Jules Verne). Sally Hawkins’ acting was excellent. I liked how the movie drew parallels between different ways that society sidelines and marginalizes people. There were some nice throwaway bits, such as the things that showed up momentarily on TV as the channels changed.

BTW, I don’t think the movie ever explicitly said why Giles (Richard Jenkins’ character) had been fired. Is it because he was gay?

That was the implication that I gathered. I also thought he and Bernie were attracted to each other, but Bernie wasn’t interested in pursuing it.