MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018
The shape of tribal warfare: The most remarkable moment in The Shape of Water occurs rather late in the film.
We refer to the scene in which Guillermo del Toro detonates his three millionth cultural stereotype, the one in which we get to see that black men are lazy moochers who shamelessly live off their wives.
In fairness, the black husband in question doesn't say "Yassuh, boss," as he betrays his wife in deference to The Man. But he comes amazingly close in this amazing film.
We went to see The Shape of Water for several reasons. We were stunned by the tribal messaging the heinous mess contains. Also, by the number of critics who managed to sit through the film without noticing this part of its brief.
Most mainstream critics did mention the heavy-handed stereotyping found all through the film. For the most part, they tended to review the film favorably anyway. (Fairly clearly, David Edelstein didn't.)
We think the stereotyping in this film almost defies belief. We'd say it offers a remarkable look at the way human brain cells die in times of "cultural revolution."
We expect to discuss the film in detail next week, but that scene with the black husband really took the cake. In fairness, he didn't say "Yassuh, boss." But he came amazingly close.
It seemed to us that Sally Hawkins really was extremely good, just as everyone says. It seems to us that Guillermo del Toro needs a lot of help, as does our deranged, drowning tribe, which increasingly seems to be maybe half human, half monster.