'The Shape Of Water' Is A Modern-Day Fairytale

'The Shape Of Water' Is A Modern-Day Fairytale

Came for the memes, stayed for the beautiful story.
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When I first heard about the concept for Guillermo Del Toro's Shape of Water, I thought it was a joke.

A woman falling in love with a humanoid fish man? And having sex with him? I guess I'll watch it for the memes. But it was honestly one of my favorite films of the year. I had the pleasure of going to a screening that included a Q and A with Del Toro, Octavia Spencer, and Doug Jones, and from the way they all spoke about the film it became clear to me that the power of the film rested in its fearlessness in tackling its bizarre subject matter with grace and a surprising amount of sensuality.

The story revolves around Elisa, a member of the janitorial staff at a secretive government agency during the Cold War who happens to be mute, and her love affair with "Amphibian Man," who is wanted by both the Soviet and American governments for nefarious purposes.

Throughout the film, Elisa and Amphibian Man's relationship and outsider status serves as an allegory for homophobia, racism, and other prejudices and barriers humans create between each other.

Del Toro mentioned that his inspiration for the film came from a desire for a movie like The Creature from the Black Lagoon to include a love story between the frightening creature and the helpless woman. In Shape of Water, Elisa is far from helpless, and is in fact the creator of her own destiny.

Lacking the power and status of many of the men in the film, as well as the ability to speak, she still manages to save Amphibian Man, and is the one who instigates their romantic and sexual relationship. Her sexual agency was one of the most striking aspects of the film for me, and I would classify the film as quite feminist. Her wonderful friendship with Zelda, Octavia Spencer's character, amplified this.

Another inspiration for the film cited was Beauty and the Beast, though Shape of Water does not follow this film's commonly criticized flaw of depicting a "romantic" relationship that has many characteristics of Stockholm syndrome. It actually subverts this, as the romantic leads end up living in Elisa's apartment. Like the rest of the sets in the film, the apartment is beautifully designed, with every detail clearly hand-picked and agonized over. If nothing else, watch this movie for its visual design and cinematography.

If the film lacks anything, it would be the development of some of the characters, especially development of Amphibian Man's character and the relationship between him and Elisa. The film's fairytale-like quality lends it to some over-simplification of the love between the two of them, and their relationship seems to rest on the pair's isolation from the world and lack of verbal communication. This creates a beautiful sentiment about the ability for people to connect on a more primal level, but it does make the film somewhat cheesy at times.

But maybe I just think that because I've lost the ability to believe in the fairytale-like love portrayed in the film. In this day and age, maybe we all need a bit more of old Hollywood sentimentality and hope in our lives, and this film will give you just that.

Cover Image Credit: Vimeo

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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