This ‘Shape of Water’ fan theory will change the way you see the movie

SPOILER ALERT: this article is sopping wet with spoilers

So, Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era fantasy B-movie romance thriller The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins as a woman who falls in love with a scaled creature kept in a water tank in the research facility she works at, has been named Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. And why not? It’s bloody brilliant!

Hawkins’ character, Elisa, is mute, though when the credits roll you’d swear the actor has delivered deeply emotional dialogue – such is the power of her performance. With Michael Shannon as the dastardly colonel dead set on keeping her from the object of her affections, the movie is by turns romantic and exciting, while looking fantastic thanks to the fluid camerawork and impeccable costume and set design. But wait! Why would a woman fall in love with a man who’s part fish?


It’s all a bit – ahem – fishy. The people of Reddit, though, have an idea based on the fact that, as a orphaned baby, Elisa was discovered by next to river and has mysterious marks on her back.

Taking to the forum, the inquisitive Reddit user caerul has posited:  “I got the impression that she was half fish-man herself. Clues were left — she was found in a river, she’s never been able to speak, she masturbates underwater every morning, and most importantly he healed her “scars” into working gills. He was never shown to have transformative powers, only healing powers, implying that she had partially-formed gills from being, perhaps, a half-breed. This explained, at least to me, what otherwise would have felt like a hasty and forced connection between the two: she felt a primal kinship with him, instinctively, and was immediately drawn in.”

Caerul might be onto something, you know. A fellow Redditor agrees, responding: “Yep. She was found as a child by the water. Her name is Esposito. The creature was found in Brazil. All adds up.” Well, “all adds up” might be a stretch for those who prefer their movies strictly realistic, but – still a good theory.

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