The Shape of Water (2017)
December 12, 2017 11:34 AM - Subscribe

In Guillermo del Toro's magical realism twist on monster movies, isolated and mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a nighttime janitor at a government research facility in a 1960s-like Baltimore. Her life is changed forever when she discovers a secret classified "asset" and experiment, and develops an unusual relationship.

Elisa's relationship with the asset - a mysterious, scaled humanoid from South America who lives in a water tank (Doug Jones) - develops further as the two feel a kinship. Under threat of an experiment shutdown, Elisa helps the asset escape. She has help from her friends Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and Giles (Richard Jenkins), along with aid from a research scientists with his own agenda.

After the escape, experiment head Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) becomes obsessive in his need to re-locate the creature he originally captured in the Amazon, and to find and punish those who helped set it free.
posted by gemmy (47 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I saw it alone yesterday on a whim at the E Street Cinema in D.C., and I really think my expectations were too high. It was a beautiful and well acted/directed movie. Sally Hawkins is incredibly expressive; I thought she was fantastic. Of course Doug Jones is always amazing. The cinematography and the production design was top notch, and the music was wonderful and helped a lot in creating a melancholy mood that fit the film. I love del Toro, and I'm right smack in the middle of the target audience for this, I think.

And yet... It didn't wow me, or leave me feeling like it was worth all the buzz and the many Golden Globe noms and all. I think maybe I have to see it again to make sure, since I have some issues with the ending in particular. (Setting up specific conditions within your world only to then toss them out later always kills my suspension of disbelief.) Definitely worth seeing, though, and it's a good movie. Can't wait to hear what other people thought.
posted by gemmy at 2:21 PM on December 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Lauren and I went to see it this weekend. It's elegant, good suspense when it's necessary, great performances.
posted by zerolives at 6:00 PM on December 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I so want to see this but it's still not out in my city. The same thing happened with Crimson Peak; not sure why they won't put his movies into wide distribution.
posted by octothorpe at 5:08 PM on December 16, 2017

I was quite struck by how real the amphibious man looked. I wonder how much was a suit/makeup and how much CGI.
posted by Cogito at 5:35 PM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Saw it today and loved it. I know the symbolism was heavy-handed, but I did really enjoy watching a mute woman, a black woman, a gay man, and a scientist fight back against a white, "Christian," sexist, racist, homophobic man. Like that's the kind of evil villain I can cheer on being destroyed.

Also the cinematography was lovely (as to be expected), but I was not expecting it to prey on my life-long love of old movie musicals.
posted by paisley sheep at 1:59 PM on December 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

I saw this Christmas Day. I was amazed by it and I think I was exactly the right audience for it--it was diminished somewhat by seeing it with a crowd full of people who'd clearly just decided they needed to see *something* on Christmas and were laughing kind of inappropriately loudly at the wrong stuff in places. The cat thing, though--god, that was viscerally upsetting and it made it really hard to sleep that night and it's still kind of rough just thinking about it. Story-wise it made sense, but I really desperately wish it hadn't happened onscreen. Like, okay, maybe you could predict the overlap between the audience for this and millennial-adjacent women with too much attachment to their cats, dude.
posted by Sequence at 9:36 PM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

I saw this last night, and I loved it. The character design of the amphibious man was wonderful and so reminiscent of Abe Sapien from Hellboy -- a character I love -- and played by the same actor. I loved the cast and the coloring, everything looked so wet and green.
posted by gladly at 8:33 AM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

My wife and I saw this yesterday. We really liked it, but something about the allegories never quite came together for me. Like, with Strickland we clearly have a clean/dirty thing going on, with the sex scene with his wife, and his bathroom habits, and his fingers, and I'm sure some other stuff I'm forgetting. But it just seems to me that it didn't add up to much in the end. I should probably watch it again to give it a fair shot, but I don't re-watch movies often.

That's one thing that makes allegory hard to pull off - when a film keeps saying "Hey! Pay attention to this theme! This theme right here, that I'm calling back to again!" then the theme needs to be really strong. Some filmmakers make movies that can be read as allegory, but Del Toro puts the allegorical nature front and center with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of the credits. Sometimes that pays off, but not always.

That said, everything about Shape of Water was beautiful - the lighting, the colors, the characters, even the Jell-O ad. I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like the film or that it's not worth watching.
posted by five toed sloth at 9:55 AM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Finally saw this. I think it was beautiful but too loosely plotted. The best character in terms of nuance was the scientist. Strickland was horrifying but needed work, he was not fully fleshed out. The leads were good, but having both romantic leads be speechless is a challenge I'm not sure this movie was up to.

Her gay friend's story was good, also, but needed more.
posted by emjaybee at 4:05 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you really, really like Delicatessen, and I do, and wonder what a modern movie mogul could do with the thematic and visual elements, and also there is a fantastic script and top-tier Hollywood character actors to inhabit the roles with dignity and humanity. There are typical action movie scenes that are tedious, BUT! More often, there are the moments when the film leaves Hollywood expectations, and Guillermo del Toro floats aloft on the wings of the Cohen Brothers and Jeunet and does his own, beautiful thing to surge higher.

Michael Shannon's role in Pottersfield, the bigfoot Furry-Fursuit Christmas movie is explained like this: "My good friend Ron Perlman, I am about to make the most horrible and creepy movie monster ever, and I need you to make the actor I've cast for it into a beloved good-guy in a Christmas tale, otherwise I will never get to sleep again." Strickland is... he's... wow. This is a terrible character portrayed by a genius actor. My wife described Michael Shannon as "Christopher Walken at his most evil, but scarier," and I cannot argue.

I like this better than Pan's Labyrinth, as it's not perpetual peril porn - heroes are found, help unlooked for arrives in the nick of time, you are rewarded with hope for believing in the good guys even as you are crushed by the greater menace!

And, yes, a disabled person, a gay middle-aged man, a communist, and a black working woman, in 1962, round out our unlikeliest of super-teams. Chief of the villains is a liar, as there is no five-star general in the USA since Omar Bradley resigned in 1950. This liar is the one Strickland offered his dignity to, and the results were as expected.

Also what is good - the Asset has no definable character we can see. She can. It doesn't matter we can't see him how she does, we can see what He does to her and the people around her - he is powerful and dangerous, yes, but there is so much more only hinted at, because the story isn't about him, but about her! Nice, nice, nice!

Oh, there is so much to unpack in this movie, it is a perpetual treasure trove of reward for careful viewing. I love it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:13 PM on December 31, 2017 [12 favorites]

At the end, as Strickland explained the story of Samson in condescending detail, I totally expected Zelda to get her moment to correct him. I expected him to make some error, and for her to say something like, "it's actually X, you sanctimonious bastard, now get out of my house!" We would have all cheered at that moment.

A lesser movie would have given us that movie.
posted by meese at 11:23 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

LOVED it. So not-typical, so lovely, so... everything. Beautifully told, captivating story. Just amazing.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:25 AM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know the symbolism was heavy-handed

Speaking of hands, Strickland spends the whole movie obsessed with trying to keep his severed fingers while pretending that's nothing wrong yet at the same time waving them around in everybody's faces in all their bleeding, gangrenous glory. Strickland, also, spends most of the movie trying to find the missing river god. Strickland ends up defined by what's missing.

At the same time, what draws Eliza to the river god? He doesn't notice what she's missing.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2018 [8 favorites]

I went last night and adored it. This is the kind of GDT I enjoy most. Your robots-punching-kaiju stuff is fine, whatever, but he’s at his best with love and monsters of a more human scale, and here we get both. I was delighted the whole way through.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:43 AM on January 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

One thing that drew me to Pacific Rim was GdT’s comment about conscientiously making a female lead without any romantic overtones. The sense I got was less about being a white knight and more a genuine desire to bring us representation of people unnoticed while playing in a genre.

I was thinking of this throughout Shape of Water because it felt similar despite our female lead being sexual and romantic. She was never the princess or the object of the story. And that’s almost highlighted by the fact that we only see Strickland treat her as such. I was so grateful that he sexually assaulted her, but didn’t rape her. In my head I’m always thinking “that’s not a villain raping a woman. That’s a writer thinking their audience needs to see a woman being raped. Does this meet that high bar?” So I liked the idea of creating a villain who would totally be a rapist* without it actually building to raping our female lead.

Not discounting that the scene with his wife was kinda rapey by clearly pushing boundaries.
posted by politikitty at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have never seen Creature from the Black Lagoon, so I wonder how much this film was inspired by the odd ideas classic monster movies had about how monster men/aliens/robots were so attracted to human ladies. This was a very entertaining and touching film which clearly had so much thought put into it. Such great characters, and each with their own stories but without making the film feel stuffed.

Were those police that arrived at the end, or authorities from the lab? It strikes me as odd that a black lady in the 60's, or ever sadly, would be rounding up a bunch of police, especially considering the supernatural circumstances, but wouldn't the lab have also wanted to recapture the amphibian man?

That poor landlord.
posted by subocoyne at 11:19 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever watched. While I know there was talking in the film, it felt very much inspired by silent-films. I don't have the words to really describe what I'm feeling right now. I just know that this will be the type of film that stays with me for weeks and months.

posted by Fizz at 3:47 PM on January 9, 2018 [8 favorites]

Surprised my wife with an early showing of this tonight. What a complicated, beautiful, layered film, with deliberate direct citations to any number of prior films, most obviously including Creature from the Black Lagoon, Delicatessen, Amelie, any number of John Waters films, Hidden Figures (which suprised me, but c'mon), and even Avalon.

Strickland is, duh, the monster, and GdT takes care to remind us throughout that he is in part constructed of dead body parts sewn together. Michael Shannon would appear to be the only actor suited to the role.
posted by mwhybark at 9:17 PM on January 11, 2018 [9 favorites]

I think I've favourited literally every comment in this thread. Good job, everyone.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:11 AM on January 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Finally saw this today, and I'm still unpacking it. I thought the acting was amazing, the overall look and tone were all so well done, and I love the characters. But I just hated the ending. I could have been okay with it if she had died. I could have loved it if she had been saved and sent back up to her life, alone but wiser and enriched by the experience. But treating this romance as a happy-ending love story just felt so diminishing to me.

The scene where she insists her neighbor repeat her words back to her make it so clear that even in her truest relationship, she has tremendous trouble being heard. So she gets to spend the rest of her life with someone who understands her without much language at all? I just - the film already made the point that as a whole human being, you need more than a merging of minds and a handful of nouns. She loves music and dancing and is presumably being taken to a place without them. She loves shoes. She has a solid friendship with her coworker and with her neighbor. I can't buy it as a happy ending that she gets a sexual relationship - or love but without any intellectual communication - and that's enough. It says more about what the writer thinks a woman needs than I'm comfortable with.

But I love that the final blow to Strickland isn't that he dies, but that he loses his voice. I would love to see what that turned into for him.
posted by Mchelly at 11:16 AM on January 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I actually enjoyed the ending, because from the very beginning it was presented to us as a fairy tale, and I was happy to accept that the princess who had been living in a world that was not her own finally got to return to the sea (I'd been guessing that the slashes on the sides of her neck would become gills) along with the "sea creature/prince charming" that she saved.

She'll be able to dance underwater and maybe the sea creature will introduce her to more people like him, so she'll have more than just two friends. I like the thought of her actualizing her awesome sea creature powers that she undoubtedly must have, now that she knows where she came from. Perhaps she can speak underwater -- it was just those on land could never understand what she was trying to say. I guess I just like the idea of a fish out of water (both literal and figurative) finding a true home and not just getting by each day.
posted by paisley sheep at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2018 [7 favorites]

Remember the framing narration is by Giles, her friend next door. He's imagining what happens underwater. He's the one desperate to give it a happy ending, and based on what we saw the River God do, it's plausible enough. But it's also plausible Elisa died. I thought it was a clever way of filming a happy ending while giving room for a lot more possibilities on reflection.
posted by rikschell at 7:30 AM on January 16, 2018 [18 favorites]

(I'd been guessing that the slashes on the sides of her neck would become gills)

I was kicking myself for not figuring that out until roughly four seconds before the reveal.

I'm surprised that nobody here brought up Rex Reed's review, which I won't link here but very much enjoyed hate-reading. People were dogging him for getting GdT's name and nationality wrong, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

His review makes clear that his problem is the social justice through-line of the movie. He mentions in passing that he also hated "Get Out", which (surprise!) also has strong themes of social and racial justice. There have been other reviews that panned the movie because the critic didn't like GdT's worldview, but Reed's gets such basic facts about the movie wrong that I suspect he sent a stringer to watch it for him and give him a report. Either that or he literally had his eyes closed. He writes of her being mentally disabled with a face disfigured by burn scars, for instance.

There are a couple of tepidly negative reviews that gave me food for thought, most of them criticizing it for being formulaic in structure and predictable. Which it is. But so are fables and fairy tales. Sometimes the joy is in the execution, not the surprise.

Remember the framing narration is by Giles, her friend next door. He's imagining what happens underwater.

Excellent point that hadn't occurred to me. He's definitely a romantic, and this could be an unreliable narrator giving us a pleasant fiction. Either it really went down that way, which would be the fairy tale ending, or she died in the arms of her lover, finally having found what she'd been seeking, which is tragic but a good enough ending. Me, I'm going with the rosy view. I need a happy ending here.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:34 AM on January 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

13 Academy Award nominations. I really am surprised and genuinely excited it got those nominations. It's also ironic in the year of #metoo revealing men to be monsters, that the best example of a male romantic lead is a literal monster.

I liked this film, but felt the pacing was a bit off. But the visuals and themes were very, very strong and I really loved how it was an inversion of monster films and fairy tales.

The cat thing, though

I actually appreciated that scene and it's a small example of how it inverts expectations. In a conventional monster movie it would have been a turning point where Jenkins' would hate the Amphibian Man and the film would show that he was right to mistrust him and the Amphibian Man was evil. I remember when seeing the start of the scene where the Amphibian Man discovers the cat I was tense and dreading that something like that was going to happen. But instead, Jenkins' first reaction is more confusion and in the end doesn't even really fault the monster for eating the cat.
posted by FJT at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2018 [11 favorites]

Saw this today and enjoyed it, without being nuts about it. Del Toro always has somewhat simplistic characters and stories, down in a visually beautiful fashion. So yeah, would have preferred Shannon's character to be fleshed out a bit (lol), but it mostly works in this context, especially with the wonderful expressiveness of Sally Hawkins.

The marks on her neck was an obvious device signaling that they'd end up happily ever after, but I figure out they were gills, dammit. Del Toro does adult fairy tales and this is one of his finest, IMO.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:30 PM on January 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, as a black dude, I appreciate that Del Toro didn't try to wash over the horrible racist shit that was going on in the movie's setting. It wasn't the focus of the film, and that's totally fine, but the acknowledgement of what happened this, without lingering on it, is deeply appreciated.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 PM on January 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

Did the Amphibian Man give her gills? Her original scars were on the right side of her neck. But in that ending scene they're on the left side. So either it's a production mistake, or he really did give her gills and those are the new ones on the left?
posted by numaner at 5:00 PM on January 28, 2018

She had scars on both sides, actually, totally symmetrical ones. Whether that was literally what her scars looked like or just how Giles told the story is open to interpretation.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:24 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

ah ok, thanks for the clarification! i distinctly remember Strickland pointing them out and they only show the right side.
posted by numaner at 7:30 PM on January 29, 2018

I think the only time both sides are clearly visible in the same scene -- apart from the very end -- is the initial dreamy sequence with Eliza floating in the flooded apartment.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2018

This was such a del Toro movie. I turned to my wife after it ended and said "I'm amazed that this film exists", meaning that I'm flabbergasted that such a weird and and personal movie actually made it all the way through the Hollywood machine and even got a real release. When I got home I read Film Critic Hulk's review where he says, "“How the fuck did this get made?” which was exactly my reaction.

In any case, I loved this movie even more than Crimson Peak probably because it hits me right in my inner 12 year old. I'm exactly del Toro's age and was obsessed with 1950s and '60s monster movies and SciFi and would sit in my room and watch them on my 13" BW TV , marking off the ones I'd watched in a ratty film guide that was a decade out of date at that point. I can totally relate to a filmmaker who wanted to make a sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon.
posted by octothorpe at 7:07 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

And yet... It didn't wow me, or leave me feeling like it was worth all the buzz and the many Golden Globe noms and all. I think maybe I have to see it again to make sure, since I have some issues with the ending in particular. (Setting up specific conditions within your world only to then toss them out later always kills my suspension of disbelief.) Definitely worth seeing, though, and it's a good movie. Can't wait to hear what other people thought.

Thank you, yes, completely. I enjoyed this as a nice piece of pulp with some beautiful color schemes and a fish person romance, but that is the be-all-end-all of it for me: some entirely predictable pulp, with a dance sequence shoved into the end for god knows what reason and a meandering final act that took forever to get to the point. I mean, I’m happy that people enjoy delicious trash, but how the hell does this have thirteen Oscar nominations? Is Guillermo Del Toro just the nicest man in Hollywood? Like, really, I would tell people to see this movie for a night out -but thirteen Oscar nominations for a movie that is essentially a pro-forma endorsement of everyone being people? Is this, like, the Get Out vote for everyone who was mad about Moonlight?

(Also, the scene in which the gay man decides that “Hey! A fish person is a person too, just like me, and just like black people!” was beyond perfunctory. Beyond it. I am so angry about these nominations.)

(I enjoyed the movie, I swear. I’m just -aaargh. AARGH.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:11 PM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

You seem pretty angry about it; why?

how the hell does this have thirteen Oscar nominations?

I'm not in the academy by any means, but this was by far the best film I saw this year. I don't really chase the nominees or anything, so, sure, I am willing to concede that there might have been a better film released last year. What are your counternominations?
posted by mwhybark at 10:48 PM on February 8, 2018

You seem pretty angry about it; why?

Man! That is a great question; I assume it’s because I find del Toro’s movies fun but not deep - they strike no chords within me. To my mind the film’s plots and turns were mostly predictable, and they taught me nothing new. “Woman falls in love with monster” isn’t a new idea, nor is “evil government man”, or “evil capitalist man”, or anything else. It was gory and schlocky, with cardboard grotesque villains and -as I said above- a final act that just seemed to drag on and on, with a maudlin heroine weeping over her ever-sicker fish friend and a protracted-to-no-point investigation and a tacked on torture of Michael Stuhlbarg, a spy so dumb that he goes to his final meeting as the movie screams at us that he’s going to be killed. To my eye it was good trash, but not great trash. (I will concede Film Crit Hulk’s notes on sex and aesthetics: it’s a very pretty movie, and that sex is darned up-front. )

I guess I’m angry because -to me- it’s like seeing areally well made plate of brownies and giving it all of the awards on the fine cooking show because, man, aren’t these brownies delicious? And there’s something about seeing those nominations come in after having had a brownie and thinking, “Yeah, that was pretty good” and then being told that, actually, it was the finest thing we’d ever made and just last year you saw Moonlight and it was beautiful and perfect.

And, of course, there’s the general vexation of thinking you know how good something is and then finding out that you’re in the minority. Ah, taste.

I am willing to concede that there might have been a better film released last year. What are your counternominations?

I’m not sure I want to play the counter-nominations game, especially since my memory is terrible and I’ve also not been hitting the local multiplex that much. However, here are some movies that the Internet tells me came out last year that I preferred. (Your own mileage, especially in
That’s a tougher question, because there are levels to these things. However, here are some movies that I saw this past year that I think I enjoyed more:
  • Phantom Thread was a better movie all around.
  • Logan was, I think, a more interesting genre movie, though also not something I’d put up for an Oscar.
  • Okja was Bong Joon-ho being his amazing self and doing something much stranger about capitalism, plus Tilda Swinton being two people.
  • Columbus and Baby Driver were hella pretty
  • Lego Batman had a weirder romantic pairing

posted by Going To Maine at 12:07 AM on February 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Relatedly, Cara Buckley in The New York Times: “How Did The Shape of Water Become the Film to Beat at the Oscars?”
posted by Going To Maine at 12:14 AM on February 9, 2018

Yeah, that New York Times piece nails it. The Shape of Water is a love story about underdogs who fight the man and win. Del Toro tells adult fairy tales and this is just about perfect, even if doesn't have the storytelling/character meat I usually crave re the villain.

But it's a fairy tale and neatly manages to stick to its fairy tale tropes, which merges nicely with Sally Hawkins expressive face and actions. He very wisely choose not show her journey to strength but present her as already strong, as if she was born to it. Brilliant stuff.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on February 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Great and thoughtful response, Going To Maine. Thank you! Logan was indeed pretty great.
posted by mwhybark at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2018

Maybe the people in the Academy just decided that we needed to cheer for a movie where the white male conservative heterosexual Christian jerk literally gets it in the neck at the end. I have no problem with that. Ditto for del Toro doing what amounts to an Abe Sapien movie where the government captors/keepers aren't as friendly and there's both frank depiction and discussion of getting it on. I want to believe that the ending is the secret origin of Aquaman.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:55 PM on February 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I like to think of it as an origin story of Abe, from Hellboy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:41 AM on February 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I finally saw the film last night and I’m not sure what I think about it. I really like everyone involved in it, but I’m not sure it works to take the magical interspecies sexuality in the subtext of some old fables and make it explicit. I guess other people found it romantic, but it read as abusive to me—I can’t tell if the amphibious man is intelligent enough to genuinely consent to that relationship. Since that relationship didn't work for me...well, it made it hard to enjoy the movie overall.

I did like the implicit critique of the overbearing masculine ideal represented by Strickland, and the link between that and conspicuous consumerism. Strickland falling for the kind of advertising produced by Giles (a person he would never directly emulate) was a nice touch.

I think I’ll need to rewatch it to see if I think it holds together for me.

I was happy to accept that the princess who had been living in a world that was not her own finally got to return to the sea

That's an interesting thought. I hadn't seen her as being from the sea originally, but it would fit with everything we know about her.

I've been scanning some reviews from disabled critics, and some of them are really unhappy with the implication that the only place a mute woman could find love and sexual fulfillment was with a monster.

This is striking:
The most upsetting moment comes, for me, in Giles’ final monologue. He says, “If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did.” Elisa’s happy ending is near-death and a lifetime of solitude with a fish man, the exact opposite of the inclusion that disabled activists fight for. The message here is clear: the only happily ever after that disabled people deserve is to vanish off the face of this earth, unwanted and alone except for a being more monstrous than her. This is a harmful narrative: it says we are not worthy of life among our peers or in our communities. It says we are only capable of being loved by other monsters. It says we, ourselves, are the monsters.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:02 PM on March 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was listening to this week’s episode of The Flop House earlier; the group recorded it just before The Oscars, and I liked the take brought up by the hosts that regardless of who were to win, it’s nice that the safe, middle-of-the-road option is the fish-person romance. We’re in a good, freaky time for movies.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:28 PM on March 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Phantom Thread was a better movie all around.
Logan was, I think, a more interesting genre movie, though also not something I’d put up for an Oscar.
Okja was Bong Joon-ho being his amazing self and doing something much stranger about capitalism, plus Tilda Swinton being two people.
Columbus and Baby Driver were hella pretty
Lego Batman had a weirder romantic pairing

I'm gonna have to have a bat'leth duel with you on the Ralph Fines Being Fine and Very White vs. "Frankenstein vs. The Creature from the Black Lagoon." Cuz that was what Shape of Water actually was.

"Fashion from a socially repressed time" vs. "Socially repressed heroes team up to take down an evil Frankenstein despite an evil government enabling him!"

Then I remember the '70s, when you could order through a comic book a ceramic bust of Frankenstein, and it came with a little plastic strip of paint-pots, each as large as a thimble, and it didn't come out anywhere near as well as the 3' ceramic X-mass three your mom painted in the same class, and your folks still put out every year. I mean, it's got sparkly snow on the branches, a zillion plastic lite-brite style "lights" and a star on the top you'd steal every year to play with like it was a space-ship. Including last year. My Frankenstien was streaky green skin with gloppy black hair and eyes and little white streaks meant to indicate highlights where highlights really shouldn't be and metal-flake silver at his neck-bolts.

Kick his ass, Creature!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

only just saw this last night and I guess my expectations were a bit tempered by various things I have heard, but it was better than I was expecting! I loved it, beautiful and engrossing! the performances were stellar.

I did not expect it to be so dark, although I know that Mr del Toro does not flinch from exposing the darkest elements in human nature. Michael Shannon is a fantastic villain.
posted by supermedusa at 9:03 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Finally saw this tonight. Fantasy really isn't my genre, but I didn't hate this movie or regret taking the time to watch it. The acting was excellent and the visuals were great, but I thought the script could have used more work. It didn't quite have the substance it was aiming for. I did appreciate the social realism though.

Also that bathroom would have taken hours and hours to fill up like that.
posted by orange swan at 9:51 PM on August 20, 2018

The moment when Richard Jenkins mildly reproves the water creature with a, "No, no. No playing with the kitties," and the water creature scuttles guiltily away from the cats like a pre-schooler caught playing with the cookies in the jar gets my vote for the funniest moment in the movie.

I was glad my cat didn't happen to watch this movie with me, though. As it was I had a horrible dream last night that Trilby died in my lap of spinal injuries he'd somehow sustained and it was such a relief to wake up and see him lying contentedly beside me.
posted by orange swan at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Finally watched this last night. It was sweet and comforting and the horrible villain gets his just deserts. I'd like a sequel involving their adventures and the people (including probably some manatees) they meet on their long swim back to... somewhere near the Amazon that has salt water, I guess.

That poor landlord.

Such a sweet cozy fantasy that it makes us feel sympathy for the landlord. (Aww, free movie tickets.)
posted by asperity at 12:27 PM on September 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

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