I knew this movie was going to be visually stunning but having read Theresa’s review, I need to see this NOW!
The Shape of Water (Release Date: December 2017)
The Shape of Water is a 2017 American fantasy drama film directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. Set in 1961 Baltimore, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian creature and later falls in love with him. She eventually plans to free the creature from the facility, prompting the government to track them down and as she attempts to introduce him to the oceans.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Rating/ Runtime: R- 2 hr 32
I had not even heard of this movie until a friend asked if I wanted to see it. Truthfully, I might have declined had I known the premise, since it sounds kind of cheesy. However, when she said it was the same director as Pan’s Labyrinth (definitely a must-see), I managed to get myself out of the house on a work night to see it. From the opening credits, the film is visual poetry—lots of water imagery to be had. In fact, the colors and cinematography are so phenomenal, it’s like getting pulled into a different world for a couple of hours.
The mute lead character is likeable from the get-go. Although not considered beautiful by society, the audience gets to know her quirks and the beauty of her soul that her few friends appreciate. We see her transitioning from someone who’s essentially unnoticed, to a woman who goes after her deepest desires. This fits ever-so appropriately with del Toro’s social commentary on the evils of hating those who are different—whether they be mute, homosexual, black, or a sea monster. The film’s villain is equally exceptional as a character. We hate his every move and hope that his re-attached fingers end up rotting off, because he himself is so rotten. I won’t say any more about that, for fear of spoiling anything for you. And, I need to mention Octavia Spencer’s performance is top-notch, adding a lot of heart to the film. You might remember her from The Help and, most recently, from her Oscar-nominated performance in Hidden Figures.
As far as the love story involving a sea creature, you’ll need to keep an open mind. Again, one of the themes of the movie itself. The way in which he’s introduced on screen is stunning, as is the subtle connection built between him and the mute custodian. I was so happy that del Toro didn’t stoop to CGI much when it came to the monster. The fact that an actor wore an elaborate suit made his existence all the more convincing. There were moments when I completely suspended my disbelief, a true testament to the director. Before I knew it, I was emotionally engaged and gripping the theater chair when the ending came. And, what an ending at that. It leaves you wondering what really happened. Will you choose the happily ever after version? I did…
Long story short, see this movie, especially if you like off-beat works of art. Many movie goers clapped as the closing credits rolled. I have to say, I was one of them.