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The Shape of Water (2017)

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In 3 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

In a 1960s research facility, a mute janitor forms a relationship with an aquatic creature.

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5 ( 12)
9 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bernard
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Elaine Strickland
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Mr. Arzoumanian
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Storyline

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

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Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Release Date:

8 December 2017 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

La forma del agua  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,564, 3 December 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$231,008, 7 December 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As this is released in theaters the same year as Maudie (2016), it marks the first time Sally Hawkins has been the lead in two theatrical releases within the same year. In both films, she portrays a woman with a disability; In "Maudie" her character suffers from a result of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and in "Shape of Water" her character has a speech impediment. See more »

Quotes

Giles: We can do nothing! I'm sorry!
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Connections

References The Story of Ruth (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Breathe
Written by Lauren Strahm and Tommee Proffitt
Performed by Fleurie
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User Reviews

 
beautiful film, creature, performances

Greetings again from the darkness. Recent release THE JUSTICE LEAGUE is filled with superheroes, but filmmaker-extraordinaire Guillermo del Toro finds his league of misfits and outcasts to be much more interesting - as do I. The numerous possible descriptions of this movie are all accurate, yet alone, each falls short: a fairy tale, fable, monster movie, unconventional romance, sci-fi, cold war saga, and commentary on societal misfits. What is also true is that it's a gorgeous film with terrific performances, and it pays lovely tribute to the classics.

A government research facility in 1962 Baltimore is the setting, and "The Asset" being secured and studied is an amphibious creature that was captured in South America by a sadistic Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) and his electric cattle prod. Now the military, and a 5- star General played by Nick Searcy, is in charge. The lead scientist played by Michael Stuhlbarg certainly has a different agenda than the military, whose focus seems to be more on preventing the Russians (closer than you think) from stealing the asset than in actually seizing the rare scientific opportunity for advancement.

While all the ominous and clandestine government operations are being conducted, a member of the nighttime cleaning crew - a mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) – makes a very personal connection with the creature through nutritious snacks, Big Band music and sign language. This is the enchanting portion of the story and is admittedly (by del Toro) inspired by the 1954 classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (a personal favorite of mine). Elisa and the creature experience a romantic courtship not unlike what we have seen in many other love stories … that is, if you overlook the amphibious being that makes up half of this couple. In fact, "going with" the story is crucial to one's enjoyment. Sit back and let the magic and wonder and fantastical nature of del Toro's imagination sweep you away – just as it has done for Elisa.

There are many elements of the film worth exploring, and it's likely to take another viewing to capture many of them. The band of misfits is comprised of the creature (Doug Jones), Elisa (Ms. Hawkins), Elisa's wise and wise-cracking co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), and Elisa's neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), a closeted gay graphics design artist. These are the nice folks/beings who make up the world that seems to be run by bullies and predators (sound familiar?). There is even a religious debate here as it's mentioned that the creature was treated by a God in his natural environment, and a brief discussion is had over what might a God look like. All of the actors are superb, and Miss Hawkins delivers her second knockout performance of the year (the other being MAUDIE).

"The future" is a central theme of the story, though Elisa is most focused on now – how to find some happiness in a world that has been so challenging. Elisa realizes she and the creature are more similar than not, and she feels his pain each time the power-hungry Strickland (Shannon) pops him with the electric cattle prod. There is an ethereal beauty (and yes, sensuality) to the scenes with Elisa and the creature, and it even leads to a terrific song ("You'll Never Know" by Renee Fleming) and dance dream sequence. In addition, you'll notice many nods and tributes to classics such as Mr. Ed, Dobie Gillis, Betty Grable, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Shirley Temple, and Carmen Miranda singing "Chica Chica Boom Chic". It's also no accident that the apartments of Elisa and Giles are located directly above a palatial old movie theatre that is struggling to make ends meet. All of these pieces are tied together as Mr. del Toro honors the art forms he so adores.

For those who enjoy such detail, it should be noted that the color green plays a huge role throughout the film … the water, the creature, the uniforms, the furniture, the walls – even the Jello, the pie and Strickland's (teal) Cadillac. The use of color ties in the ever- present mythology, and the theme of meanness and power versus kindness and love.

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen adds to the magical feel with his camera work and lighting that perfectly complements the characters and tone. Oscar winning composer Alexandre Desplat delivers yet another spot on score that not only syncs with story, but also the numerous classic songs included. Guillermo det Toro is one of the most creative and inventive contemporary filmmakers, and though this one may fall a tick below his masterpiece PAN'S LABRYNTH, it is sure to dazzle and mesmerize those who give it a chance … and let's hope there are many who do!


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