Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.
I recently had an opportunity to see Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and I can say for a fact that I haven’t been as swept up in a narrative this year as I was with this film. GDT is a modern master and he shows it once again. The Shape of Water is one of the year’s best films.
The only thing that is more impressive than the incredible cinematography of The Shape of Water, is the incredible challenge of writing this kind of story which Del Toro has done so brilliantly. He has managed to turn a creature feature like The Creature from the Black Lagoon into a fairytale. Not only this, but his two main characters can’t speak. GDT turns this challenge into one of the best screenplays of the past 5 years and also the year’s most oddly compelling story. It is not natural to want a creature and a human being to fall in love, but in The Shape Water that is your main hope as a viewer, which is an undying testament to Del Toro’s strength as a writer.
It’s hard to describe why Sally Hawkins was so good in this movie. She never says a word, but plays her character brilliantly with such innocence. I also thought that Richard Jenkins was a scene stealer. Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg were brilliantly as well as Octavia Spencer who is always fantastic. I’ve heard that the design done on the creature took years in it truly shows. The Shape of Water is just impeccably beautiful. There is but one flaw I have with this film and it is a very short scene that felt out of place. I would have been okay with this, but the scene shoehorned into a movie that wasn’t really wasn’t trying to make that kind of statement other than what its main narrative presents.
The Shape of Water has what could be the makings of a classic. It’s beautiful and entirely unique. GDT is one the best directors working today and he shows it film after film. I love Pan’s Labyrinth, but it is hard to say that this isn’t his best work. I implore you to go see The Shape of Water as soon as you can. It is modern fairytale that is executed so brilliantly well that you will be severely missing out if you don’t catch it in theaters.