Did Guillermo del Toro Plagiarize a Scene in 'Shape of Water'?

Sharon Knolle
The Shape of Water

One of the most charming scenes in Oscar Best Picture nominee "The Shape of Water" is a sequence in which Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) are watching an old musical on TV and begin to "dance" while still seated on the couch.

Now, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is accusing Guillermo del Toro of stealing the idea from his 1991 movie "Delicatessen."

Jeunet told Ouest-France that he discussed this with Del Toro. "I told him: 'You have a lot of imagination, a lot of talent. Why go and [steal] the ideas of others?'" (This was Google-translated by The Playlist.)

Del Toro's response: They are both copying "Brazil" director Terry Gilliam, so it is not stealing.

Continued Jeunet, "When he stakes the scene of the couple sitting on the edge of the bed dancing with their feet, with the musical in the background on TV, it is so copied and pasted [from] 'Delicatessen' that there is a moment when I say to myself that he lacks self-respect."

Jeunet doesn't plan to sue, but he says he is "disappointed" in Del Toro. He doesn't believe it was merely an unconscious echo, but that, "it is obvious that [Del Toro] had 'Delicatessen' in mind."

The look and whimsical feel of "The Shape of Water" has already been widely compared to Jeunet's better-known 2001 film, "Amélie," in which the heroine indulges in fantastically realized daydreams.

Compare the scenes for yourself:

"Delicatessen:"

"The Shape of Water"

[Via The Playlist]