Movie Review: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo Del Toro starring Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Updated 26 June 2018
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Movie Review: The Shape of Water

Visually stunning and beautifully acted, writer-director Guillermo Del Toro’s fairytale love story shows that one can find happiness in anyone — or anything — and does so masterfully.
Set against a 1960’s US-Soviet cold-war backdrop, mute cleaning lady Eliza Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) falls in love with a human-like aquatic creature (Doug Jones) trapped as a test subject in a secret US scientific facility headed by compellingly malevolent government official Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon).
Hawkins’ performance as Eliza ironically speaks volumes. Without needing to utter a word, her ‘loud’ sign language, facial expressions, telling gazes and perfect timing put the viewer right inside her head. Shannon is equally riveting as Strickland, bringing a sense of dominance to a villain whose no-nonsense mantra has everyone quaking in their seats.
The real treasures, however, are among the supporting line-up. Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg are fantastic as Eliza’s colleague and friend, her neighbor, and a US-Soviet scientist/spy respectively, as they balance their own unique and interesting sub-plots with their role as comic relief.
For a movie that runs to 123 minutes, the plot felt weirdly rushed in places, while in others the story drags, and one can’t help feeling like there were a few scenes that ended up on the cutting-room floor when they might have served the movie well, or that things could have played out differently and in a more elegant manner. The first two acts of the film are captivating and make the audience ask the right questions, but toward the movie’s climax, everything plays out a little too predictably.
“The Shape of Water” won 2018’s Academy Award for Best Movie. Did it deserve it? When you look at the lineup it was up against, the answer would have to be “Not really.” But the magical world Del Toro has created is definitely worth diving into.


New E! channel reality show follows women across the Mideast

Updated 15 December 2018
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New E! channel reality show follows women across the Mideast

DUBAI: US TV channel E! is set to premiere a new show about the Middle East’s female entrepreneurs on Dec. 23. Here are six of the stars who will feature in “Generation M.E.”

Dana Al-Tuwarish
The Kuwaiti influencer and entrepreneur will host the show and is already a well-known name in the region with her two million Instagram followers and numerous beauty ventures.
Arwa Al-Banawi
The Saudi designer launched her own fashion line in 2015 and recently made headlines when Will Smith and his son, Jaden, popped into her Dubai Design District showroom for a visit in October.
Tara Khattar
The New York-based Lebanese chef is a fast-rising star on the culinary scene and at just 25-years-old has already appeared on “Top Chef France.”
Manal Rostom
In May, the Egyptian marathon-runner and mountaineer became the first Arab woman to be featured on the Global Nike+ Run Club App.
Joelle Mardinian
The Lebanese beauty entrepreneur launched her chain salon Maison de Joelle in 2008 and it now has branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Tunisia and Kurdistan.
Hanan Mazouzi
The Algerian car-lover founded the UAE’s first women-only supercar club, the Arabian Gazelles, and has been featured in everything from CNN to Vogue magazine.