In the movie Shutter Island, there is a scene where a lady during interrogation asks for a glass of water. However, when she drinks the water, there is no glass at all. A moment later, the glass reappears. I also noticed, on the table, there are "water prints" (I'm not sure how they are called in English) of the glass.

I wonder, what is the meaning of this "no-glass scene", and what is the meaning of "water prints" (in the video above, you can see them at 0:07) on the table?

  • Have you looked at the top-rated comment of your linked video? It gives some possible explanations.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 11, 2011 at 21:50
  • @ChristianRau - I also looked at other comments and they give different explanations...
    – StupidOne
    Dec 11, 2011 at 22:02
  • 6
    "water prints" are usually called "a ring". As in, "the glass left a ring" or "there are rings on the furniture because people refuse to use a coaster". They're also sometimes called "water rings" or "water stains", especially if they become permanent.
    – user223
    Mar 11, 2012 at 0:58
  • There is no glass because the partner never existed.
    – user2186
    Oct 12, 2012 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what else to tell you, the highest voted comment on YouTube explained it very well.

Teddy has a fear of water based on the incident that happened in the past that he is trying to suppress. Water and fire are the important themes throughout the movie

  • Rain
  • Hurricane
  • Beach Cave
  • Cigarettes

As the YouTube user correctly mentions, the audience is seeing the absence of water through the eyes of Teddy. In order to maintain control of what he believes to be true, he must cancel out any occurrence of water. Otherwise, it will resurface what really happened to the children.

There are three angles

  • One facing across the table showing the marshal, the woman and Teddy
  • One facing the woman, notice we see her right side, based on the seating setup, this is exactly where Teddy is sitting. The water comes from the marshal and she leans to the left to get it.
  • The side from the woman when she finishes

The circle (water print) left could honestly just be seen as residual from the previous trials of the scene. If you notice the cut from when she drops back the camera angle across the table the ordering of the papers are not the same. Also, there is no pen in sight before the cut.

  • I know this might be whole new question, but if he is really so afraid of water, why then he comes to island by boot and not, for example, by helicopter? He is even standing on the deck talking to Chuck.
    – StupidOne
    Dec 11, 2011 at 22:09
  • @Stup Chuck gives him cigarettes (fire) on the boat, Teddy lost his pack, thus this is the start of the ploy to repress the fear of water.
    – phwd
    Dec 11, 2011 at 22:33
  • If he is so afraid of the water and tries to avoid it, why does he only drink mineral water when other people are having a real dring as whiskey etc.
    – user2140
    Oct 3, 2012 at 8:36

The whole water scene was planned. If you watch Mark Rufalo as he goes to fill the cup, he's watching Teddy and the woman the whole time. He doesn't fill up the cup, but he pretends too. That whole scene was planned, for Leo's character. The woman writing Run, was already planned. Everything was planned for DiCaprio. The whole movie is a complex role play to help a very traumatized patient.

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