Episode 75 - The Shape of Water

The 2018 Best Picture winner, "The Shape of Water" was labeled "a fairy tale for troubled times" by its director, Guillermo del Toro. Coincidentally, the unanimous acclaim that the movie received despite its total lack of substance is reminiscent of another fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes." Del Toro is a poor man's Tim Burton who repeatedly employs the same trick of blending together macabre yet magical scenarios that take place in the past, wide-eyed ingénues and heavy-handed musical scores. They should have been honest and just titled this movie what it is, "Edward Webbed Fingers."

Sally Hawkins plays Elisa Esposito, a mute janitor who works in a top secret facility and lives a life of quiet desperation until she meets and falls in love with her soulmate, a slimy fish creature. She also has a vague backstory about being found as a baby abandoned near some water as well as some symmetrical scaring on both sides of her neck that looks a lot like gills, so we’re supposed to think that she's part sea creature or something.

Richard Jenkins plays Giles, Elisa's neighbor who was recently fired from his job as a commercial artist after his alcoholism started to interfere with his work. Giles's character arc is driven by his failed attempts to get his job back and the fact that he is a closeted homosexual who gets rejected when he tries to makes a move on the proprietor of a local Jell-O pie restaurant. After experiencing these defeats, he's willing to risk it all so that Elisa can save her fish creature lover.

Michael Shannon plays Colonel Richard Strickland, a psychopath bent on torturing and killing anyone who gets in the way of him advancing the misguided goals of the American Government. After swapping out prohibition with the Cold War, it's clear that Guillermo del Toro instructed Shannon to play the exact same character that he played on "Boardwalk Empire."

Octavia Spencer plays Zelda Fuller, a talkative janitor who works alongside mute Elisa at the top secret facility. Throughout the film, her incessant complaints about her ne'er-do-well husband's shortcomings are supposed to provide comic relief.

Michael Stuhlbarg plays Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (a.k.a. Dimitri Mosenkov), a scientist and secret Russian spy. After he discovers that the fish creature possesses human-level intelligence, he decides to disregard his orders to kill it and instead helps Elisa free it from the evil Americans before getting vivisected.

Doug Jones plays a slimy disgusting sea creature with a hidden retractable penis. 

Join us as we discuss the sick history of Kellogg's cornflakes, the strange legality of bestiality in the United States, and the double-life Jim constantly tries to hide from his wife.

Tell us what you think by chatting with us (@filmsnuff) on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, or by shooting us an email over at mailbag@filmsnuff.com.

This episode is sponsored by Modern McCarthyism

Please help support the show by visiting https://www.filmsnuff.com/donate or by contributing to our Patreon page, https://www.patreon.com/filmsnuff.

 Help support the show on Patreon!

Help support the show on Patreon!

$5 Monthly Recurring PayPal Donation

$10 Monthly Recurring PayPal Donation

$20 Monthly Recurring PayPal Donation

One-time PayPal Donation (donor specifies contribution amount)