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Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Shape Of Water (2017)

Set in 1961 Baltimore, a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaning woman at a government research center. When an amphibian humanoid creature (Doug Jones) discovered in South America is brought in, she is drawn to it and they form a kinship. Co-written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro, this much praised film proved a major disappointment. Based on the reviews and the film's trailer, I was expecting something transcendent and magical. What I got was good but far from great. Del Toro's homage to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON takes the 1954 film's monster's attraction to Julie Adams one step further to the obvious next step. I had a major problem with Michael Shannon's character, an abusive psychotic military man, which is a ghastly movie cliche right out of a 1950's B sci-fi movie. And that's exactly how Shannon plays him ..... a cliche. Contrast that with Octavia Spencer, who also plays a movie cliche, the black cleaning woman but Spencer infuses her character with humanity and layers. Fortunately in the center of it all is a terrific performance by Sally Hawkins which almost makes the movie something special. With Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Nick Searcy and Morgan Kelly.   

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