Movie Review: THE SHAPE OF WATER and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Oscar nominated films should be of top quality. But, in my minority opinion, at least two of this year's nominees fall a bit short: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and THE SHAPE OF WATER.

THE SHAPE OF WATER has more Oscar nominations than any other movie this year and it's received wide critical and popular acclaim. But I found it pretentious and even somewhat ridiculous. The movie is an odd mix of fable and melodrama about a mute young woman who falls in love with an amphibious creature from the Amazon.

Sally (in sign language): When he looks at me, he doesn't know how I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.

Here's what I consider a pretentious quote from the film's director, Guillermo Del Toro: "The shape of water is the shape of love. Love and water are the most malleable, powerful things in the universe."

There is an obvious Beauty and the Beast parallel here, but this film is aimed at adults.

Though I resisted the movie's intended charms, I did admire the acting of Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins, both of whom got Oscar nominations, and I was also impressed by the artful cinematography.

But the evil government agent played by Michael Shannon seemed to be nothing but a sneering villainous cliche and the ugly violence near the end of the film seemed completely unnecessary.

The other movie that falls short of being Oscar worthy in my opinion is CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the overly long story of an often painful affair between a teenage boy and a very handsome man in his late 20's.

Timothée Chalamet got a Best Actor nomination for his performance here as a confused young man hopelessly attracted to his father's graduate assistant.

I did like parts of this movie—some of the scenes ring very true to life. For example:

Man: Do you know how happy I am that we slept together?

Boy: I don't know.

Man: Of course, you don't know. I don't want you to regret anything. I hate the thought that maybe I messed you up. I don't want either one of us to pay for this.

But CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is the work of a director who lets his scenes move too slowly and run on too long.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.      thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com