Top Ten Cool Facts About The Shape of Water

I love going to the movies, so you might find it strange that I’ve never reviewed a movie on Bmore Energy before. Well, hon, I’m starting a new category because I loved The Shape of Water so much! It’s a modern fairy tale by director Guillermo del Toro who also directed the devastating but beautiful movie Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Doug JonesMichael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg is atmospheric, interesting, captivating, cruel, and different than anything I’ve ever watched. One of my daughters and I loved it so much that, after we saw it, we spent the rest of the evening on the computer searching for information about the story, characters, costumes, set, and how the movie was filmed.
And that was before it was nominated for an Oscar.
At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.
The Shape of Water is a $20-million Cold War-era fairytale about a mute cleaning lady, Eliza (Sally Hawkins), who stumbles upon a top-secret tank where a team led by the brutal Col. Strickland (Michael Shannon) experiment upon a mysterious Amazonian fish-man. As Eliza falls for the fish-man, aka the Asset, del Toro delivers his twist on Beauty and the Beast, one where the beast need not be a prince to be loved.
Top Ten Cool Facts About the Movie The Shape of Water:
  1. Some of the underwater Scenes were filmed using “dry for wet,” a technique where actors and props are suspended on wires and smoke is blown onstage. Bubbles and debris were added digitally to make the scenes look more realistic.
  2. It took three hours for Doug Jones to get into the Amphibian Man’s costume. Once he was in the suit, Doug Jones said, “I can’t see as well, I can’t hear much, I can’t feel much, and I got these webbed fingers on—I can’t do anything for myself.”
  3. The Amphibian Man’s gills were operated remotely by a mechanism tucked into the back of the suit.
  4. The Amphibian Man’s eyes were lenses created out of acrylic resin which snapped magnetically into a housing on Jones’ face. “For extreme close-ups, I had eyes that I couldn’t see anything out of,” Jones said. “I had to know the geography of the room pretty well before we put those eyes in. We had other versions of the eyes I could see a little bit more through — the pupils had been cut out for wide shots where I’d have to move across a room or swim around underwater.” Eye blinks, along with other “micro-expressions” such as the furrowing of the brow, were added digitally in post-production. Each shot, however, was based on scans of Jones’ own expressions.

  5. Green is the movie’s dominant color. Production designer Paul Austerberry said “everything inside [Elisa’s] home hinted at water or the ocean.” Her “world is water surrounded with cyan, blues, aged texture and furniture shaped with curves, while [Gile’s] place is bounded by gold and mustard colors to signify warmth and empathy.”
  6.  Green is carried further. It’s the color of the antagonist’s candies, Giles’ pie, and the lab’s interior, creating an unsettling mood and grimy and steamy feel. “The color teal is spread methodically throughout the hallways and detailed in the tile of the lab to signify the future. It even shows up when Strickland purchases his new Cadillac, ‘the car of the future.’ Strickland’s office is also tied into the theme, with greenish-blue tiles creating the backdrop to the glass-enclosed command center that sits high above the floor.”
  7. The main character is mute. “Elisa only communicates through sign language and body movement – the flick of an eyebrow, a shrug, a tender smile. To prep, Hawkins honed in on the role’s physicality, taking ASL lesson.”
  8. The antagonist, Richard Strickland’s bathroom routine shows how strict and scheduled he is with the world and himself.
  9. Of  his character Strickland, Michael Shannon said, “The only thing with the candies, I kept trying to add it to more and more scenes. I thought if we were going to do the candy, we should do it wholeheartedly. And the candy really is insightful in terms of knowing where Strickland is at psychologically. His relation to the candy tells you kind of what’s going on in his head.”
  10. The movie was shot in 45 days.

Did you see The Shape of Water? What did you think?

 Click here to watch a “Making of” Featurette on You Tube.

Three Berry Lovely Hostess Gifts

Chocolate-covered raspberries from Sweet Nothings.

One of the best things about summer is getting together with friends. With less carpools and craziness, it’s nice to hang out and catch up. I love that the day seems longer. Last night, we left a concert in our town’s park about 9pm and it was still light.

Summer invitations mean hostess gifts. Here are three berry-lovely ideas.

I found this adorable strawberry basket filled with chocolate-covered raspberries at Sweet Nothings, a chocolate shop in Summit, NJ. How easy is this to make yourself? All you need is a basket, filler “grass,” and candy or berries. How about making a berry mix? Wrap the mix in plastic wrap and nestle it inside the basket. Tie a bow and off you go!

Hand-thrown berry bowls filled with local berries.

Berry bowls aren’t just pretty, they’re practical since they are small colanders. I made the two ceramic bowls above, but I’ve seen them in several stores. How sweet would it be to give the hostess a berry bowl already filled? Want to make it even sweeter? Bring along whipped cream and (dare-I-say?) chocolate sauce.

Photo of Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries from

I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture the last time I made Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. Click here for a recipe. Know what’s fun about making these? Finishing up the leftover melted chocolate at home.


Sources: Sweet Nothings  and


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway

My daughters outside of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Manhattan.

Looking for a show to see? Are you a Roald Dahl fan? Both?

“Unwrap a world of pure imagination.”

My youngest daughter loves Broadway shows, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than to surprise her with tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical in Manhattan?  We appreciate Roald Dahl’s dark humor and twisted characters (We loved “Matilda the Musical.”), not to mention that Willy Wonka is played by Christian Borle who was excellent as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten.”

One of my favorite childhood movies was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I saw the newer version, and didn’t mind Johnny Depp playing a deeply disturbed Willy Wonka, but Gene Wilder’s Wonka stuck in my psyche.

The musical is wonderful! The set design is clever, interesting, colorful and illusional. The larger than life characters are modern, and each has his/her own “voice.” The humor is both timeless and relevant to the times, and, of course, of course, the story is evergreen. The messages that imagination is valuable, dream big, and work for your passion makes me–sniff-a little weepy.

Oh and, hon, the Oompa Loompas are hysterical!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical

I thought most people knew the story, but at the Broadway show the woman sitting behind us seemed genuinely surprised when Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop met their sweet rewards, and when Charlie Bucket was the last child standing. The show’s website describes the story like this:

Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.

Birthday girl.

Have you seen a good show lately? I’m always interested in what else is on stage.