“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)