The Shape of Water (2017)

R   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy


The Shape of Water (2017) Poster

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

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7.3/10
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  • Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)
  • Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)
  • David Grasso in The Shape of Water (2017)
  • Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)
  • Guillermo del Toro in The Shape of Water (2017)
  • Michael Shannon and Guillermo del Toro in The Shape of Water (2017)

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4 February 2018 | OtherShipwrecks
6
| 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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