The Shape of Water (film)

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The Shape of Water is a 2017 film about a custodian at a government laboratory who discovers a captured amphibious humanoid creature.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.



[Note: all Elisa lines are through sign language]

  • [to Strickland] F-U-C-K Y-O-U
  • [To Giles] If we do nothing, neither we are.


  • [From Trailer] The Natives in Amazon worshiped it. Like a God. We need to take it apart, learn how it works
  • [After Elisa offers him a towel] Oh, no. No, a man washes his hands before or after tending to his needs. It tells you a lot about man. He does it both times-it points a weakness in character.
  • [to Elisa and Zelda; about the Amphibian Man] Let me say this up front: You clean that lab, you get out. The thing we keep in there is an affront. Do you know what an affront is, Zelda? [Zelda: Something offensive?] That's right. And I should know, I dragged that... filthy thing... out of the river muck in South America all the way here. And along the way we didn't get to like each other much. Now. You may think, "That thing looks Human". Stands on two legs, right? But... we're created in the Lord's image. You don't think that's how the Lord looks like, do you?
  • There he is. Dr. Fucking Shitbird.
  • I do not fail. I deliver.
  • [Last words before his death] Fuck. You ARE a God.


  • If I spoke about it... if I did... what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems, in the last days of a fair prince's reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast... but far from everything else. Or, I don't know. Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you about the truth of these facts... and the tale of love and loss... and the monster who tried to destroy it all.
  • Get him out? What are you talking about? No! Absolutely not. Because it's breaking the law, that's why. We're probably breaking the law just talking about it.
  • [interpreting Elisa] When he looks at me, the way he looks at me, he does not know what I lack... or how... I am incomplete. He sees me for what I am, as I am. He's happy to see me, every time, every day. And now, I can either save him... or let him die.
  • You know, sometimes I think I was either born too early or too late for my life.
  • He's a wild creature. We can't ask him to be anything else.
  • [repeated line] This is some of my best work.
  • [to Elisa] Whatever this thing is, you need it.
  • If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did. That they were in love, that they remained in love? I'm sure that's true. But when I think of her, of Elisa, the only thing that comes to mind is a poem, whispered by someone in love hundreds of years ago. Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love. It humbles my heart, for you are everywhere.


  • Man is as silent as the grave. But if farts were flattery? Honey, he'd be Shakespeare
  • Some of the best minds in the country peein' all over the floor in this facility here
  • Short people are mean. I never met a short man that stays nice all the way through. No sir. Mean little backstabbers, all of 'em. Maybe it's the air down there. Not enough oxygen or somethin'.
  • [to Elisa] Oh! Woman, we gon' burn in hell!
  • [to Elisa] Yeah. That's good. Keep that up. Lookin' like you don't know anything.


Military Police: Their only concern is the asset.
Strickland: The Soviets want it.
Military Police: Do you have it?
Strickland: Sir, I'm getting it back.

[Talking about the Asset and wanting to help]
Giles: What are we?! What are you and I?! Do you know what we are?! We're nothing! Nothing! We can do nothing! I'm sorry, but this... this is just... oh God, It's not even human. [walks away] God.
[As Giles leaves, Elisa bangs on the wall to get his attention.]
Giles: What?
Elisa: [in sign language] If we do nothing, neither are we.

Giles: Oh! God, to be young and beautiful. If I could go back...
[Elisa nods]
Giles: when I was 18 - I didn't know anything about anything - I'd give myself a bit of advice.
Elisa: [in sign language] What would you say?
Giles: I would say: Take better care of your teeth and fuck, a lot more.
[Elisa smiles and gently nudges him]
Giles: Oh no, no, that's very good advice.

Strickland: [to Elisa] What'd you say to me?
Elisa: [in sign language] F - U - C - K
Strickland: What is she saying?
Elisa: Y - O - U
Zelda: Uh, I, I didn't catch it.
Strickland: [kicks the desk; pointing at Elisa] WHAT IS SHE SAYING?!
Zelda: She, she is sayin' "Thank you"!

Zelda: Alright, Brewster, I'm gonna fix your dinner, and then I'm gonna run out for a little while and help a friend.
Brewster: Help with what?
Zelda: Help a friend. [a knock is heard on the door]
Brewster: Zelda... the door.
Zelda: Well, you could help me and answer the door, Brewster. You're sitting right here just ten feet away from it!
Brewster: My back's aching me, woman. Now, move!
Zelda: Your back, your back? Always your back!
[Zelda answers the door and Strickland storms right in]
Zelda: Mr. Strickland. What are you doing here?
Brewster: Who's that man, Zelda?
Strickland: Where is it? Where did you take it?
Zelda: What are you talking about?
Brewster: Zelda!
Strickland: The thing... in the lab. Where is it?
Brewster: [gets up from his chair] Listen, fella--
Strickland: SIT DOWN! [Brewster sits back down]
Zelda: I'm sorry, sir. If I knew anything, I would surely tell you.
Strickland: That story about Samson. I never told you how it ends. After the Philistines torture him... and blind him... Samson asks God for the strength he needs. And at the last minute, he is spared. And the Lord gives him his strength back... one last time. And he holds... the columns of the temple... with his powerful arms. And he crushes them. [rips his fingers off and exclaims loudly in pain] And he brings the whole building down on the Philistines. [tosses his fingers on the floor] He dies... but he gets every single one of those motherfuckers. That is his WILL! Now, do you know what that particular story means... for us, Delilah? It means if you know something you're not telling me, you're gonna tell me either before or after I bring this particular temple... down upon our heads.
Brewster: Gal stole that thing right out the lab, whatever it is. Mute girl took it. I heard my wife talking on the phone about it.
Strickland: [walks towards Brewster] Thank you very much, Mr. Fuller, for your assistance. [leaves]
Zelda: [to Brewster; disgusted] What have you done?
Brewster: Zelda.
Zelda: [walks to the phone] I gotta warn her. He's going after her.
Brewster: You will do no such thing, woman. Why are you worrying about her? She broke the law.
Zelda: Shut up, Brewster! You shut up! Years, you don't talk... and now you can't shut your mouth! Damn you, Brewster. You wouldn't understand. Couldn't understand, not if you tried your whole life. [calls Elisa's place; Giles picks up]
Giles: Hello?
Zelda: Giles, is that you?
Giles: Yes.
Zelda: Okay. Put Elisa on the phone.
Giles: [hands Elisa the phone] It's Zelda.
Zelda: It's Zelda. Elisa, honey, make a sound on the phone if you can hear. [Elisa taps on the phone] Okay, good. He's coming for you. You gotta go now, and you gotta take that thing with you.



How Guillermo del Toro's 'Black Lagoon' Fantasy Inspired 'Shape of Water' (November 3, 2017)


Guillermo del Toro, How Guillermo del Toro's 'Black Lagoon' Fantasy Inspired 'Shape of Water' (November 3, 2017).

  • The creature was the most beautiful design I'd ever seen, and I saw him swimming under Julie Adams, and I loved that the creature was in love with her, and I felt an almost existential desire for them to end up together. Of course, it didn't happen.
  • When I was in my 30s, I went to Universal and I said, "Can we do the movie from the point of view of the creature?" They didn't go for it. I said, "I think they should end up together." They didn't go for that, either.
  • It's not the creature, I don't think that creature is designed in a way that he can be a romantic lead. It's beautiful, but it's not a romantic lead.


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