A few weeks ago Michael and I got the rare chance to go to a movie. Rare, since we are parents of a young child. Rare because we don't usually use babysitting money for a movie, since we hopefully will be able to stream it sometime in the future.
We went to see The Shape of Water. And in the various reviews I've read of the film, none have commented on what to me seemed to be the primary theme--toxic masculinity.
Our current social moment is shaping how I interpret many things, so it clearly shaped watching this film (as it did the Opera earlier this year).
The male characters in the film demonstrate multiple types of men, with implied questions--Who are the real men? Who is the best man?
Of course the best man isn't human, which subversively makes a point, right?
The man who, like President Trump, thinks he is the best man, is the worst man, the one possessed by a toxic masculinity. The film does a nice job of giving you a few glimpses into his life that cause you pity instead of overwhelming dread he normally compels.
The females are, of course, the central, vital characters, but you see how they must navigate all these male types in their effort to get along. Fortunately, the women are the agents of the film and drive the action, which the good men embrace and the toxic ones seem at first incapable of comprehending and later react violently toward.
I highly recommend the film, which is far more layered than its whimsical fairy tale reputation might suggest.