“The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight)
By Catholic News Service
Equal parts romantic fantasy, classic horror film and musical nostalgia piece, writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s story of a cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins) in 1962 Baltimore who falls in love with a fish-man (Doug Jones) from the Amazon who is being kept in the secret lab where she works has such strong and pervasive sexual content as to make it unsuitable for the casual moviegoer and to require a restrictive classification.
Nothing about this element of the movie is intended to appear prurient or shocking. But del Toro likes to underline his points in this mix of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” — in the case of sexuality, with the cinematic equivalent of a bright, thick Magic Marker.
Strong sexual content, including graphic marital lovemaking, bizarre activity and several glimpses of male and female nudity, fleeting gore, frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.