De­tails

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“Tom of Fin­land” Land­mark Mid­town Art Cin­ema www.land­mark­the­atres.com “The Shape of Wa­ter” Land­mark Mid­town and AMC Phipps Plaza www.land­mark­the­atres.com and www.am­cthe­atres.com cer­tainly thinks about sex a lot. Away from her job, her house­mate Giles (Richard Jenkins) is se­cretly gay — he and Elisa go to a nearby diner of­ten so he can make con­tact with the waiter there.

Zelda and Elisa soon dis­cover there’s a crea­ture (Doug Jones) be­ing held in a tank, cap­tured by her boss (Michael Shan­non, mak­ing a fine vil­lain). Elisa de­vel­ops a kin­ship with the crea­ture, at first feed­ing him eggs, then even­tu­ally be­com­ing en­am­ored with him.

As di­rected by Guillermo del Toro of “Pan’s Labyrinth” fame, this has a lot of tones and shades. Some­times those tones can crash to­gether — one moment it’s a ro­mance, then a mu­si­cal homage, then some shock­ing vi­o­lence comes out of the blue. Yet it’s a gor­geous look­ing, exquisitely made film with cin­e­matog­ra­phy and art di­rec­tion that are of­ten breath­less.

The cast is ex­cep­tional — es­pe­cially Hawkins and Shan­non — and the ro­mance isn’t as corny as it sounds. “The Shape of Wa­ter” proves to be right up the di­rec­tor’s al­ley and is also likely to res­onate in the LGBT com­mu­nity, with Elisa, Giles and the crea­ture all cer­ti­fied out­siders stand­ing up against author­ity.

Pekka Strang as Touko Laak­so­nen in ‘Tom of Fin­land.’ (Photo cour­tesy Kino Lor­ber)

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