Sunday, May 19, 2024

Toronto: First It Was Sex with a Peach, Now Sally Hawkins Goes Full Frontal and Has Sex with a Sea Monster in “The Shape of Water”


We started the Toronto Film Festival with “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay love story in which the characters sexually abuse a peach.

On Monday came Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” in which Sally Hawkins– that nice girl from England– gets it on with a sea monster. She also goes full frontal. That’s not the Sally Hawkins of the past.

Scientists have captured this sea monster but he’s no blob. He looks like a sexed up version of C3PO from “Star Wars.” And although he’s got gills, and kind of monstrous face, it also seems that all that swimming has been good for him. He’s in excellent shape.

Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are the female janitors at the government facility where the monster is being held. Michael Shannon is the evil doctor who wants to perform experiments. Shannon also has it in for the two cleaners because they want to treat the sea monster like a person.

If this sounds familiar it’s because in many ways it is. There are large doses of “ET,” “Splash,” and more recently, “Stranger Things.” But del Toro adds just enough of his signature style to make “Shape of Water” his own. The soundtrack is exceptional, and the tap dancing in kind of a Busby Berkeley number has to be seen. There’s also top notch supporting work from Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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