Review- The Shape of Water


Director Guillermo Del Toro has delivered his best film yet with “The Shape of Water”. An adult fairy tale perfectly crafted to nor overwhelm the viewer with other worldly sets, instead choosing to show the gorgeous human aspect of this cold war era city invaded by the love of a human and this amphibian man. One can truly see how much Del Toro loves what he does, from the tributes to old Hollywood musicals, monster movies, and short glimpses of old TV shows. Each scene shot with such precision and care, emotions practically pouring out of each scene even though two of the main characters are incapable of speech.

Sally Hawkins leads the cast as a mute woman, named Elisa working as a janitor at a top secret government facility, it is here where she meets the nameless amphibian man (Doug Jones) similar to the character Abe Sapien he portrays in Hellboy. Hawkins puts on one of the best performances to bless cinema this year while remaining speechless for almost the entire film.

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Elisa lives with a depressed gay man named Giles (Richard Jenkins), living in the 1960′s whose sexuality is not yet accepted in society, which causes him to be very lonely, having Elisa and his cats as his only friends. Viewers are also blessed with the presence of Octavia Spencer who plays Elisa’s co-worker, and friend, Zelda. While at work Elisa and Zelda try to stay out of anyones business but their own, that is until Elisa figures out she has taken a liking to the amphibian man, referred to as “the asset” by Michael Shannons wonderfully despicable character Strickland. Shannon puts on a particularly evil performance as the man who captured, and learned to hate this creature only because he does not know what it is. Joined by a scientist who is studying the creature while working as a double agent for the Russians.

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While this all seems like a lot Del Toro does a great job of balancing each aspect of the film. He also does not skimp on the R rated bloody scenes while not going overboard with it at all. The inter-species love between the two characters may be too much for one to hurdle, but if you accept it for what it is and take it as a metaphor you will see Hawkins sell the entirety of love just with facial expressions. Both Jenkins, and Shannon put on fantastic performances as well only adding to the narrative while not taking too much away from the blossoming love growing on screen.

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Del Toro constructed a truly beautiful love story perfectly blended with the old Hollywood monster movie vibe. He shows the blossoming love of these two outcasts, while showing the truth of racism, homophobia, and fears of something new. A remarkable triumph in film making guaranteed to be talk about for years.

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