While reading production notes, the following quote stood out: “Water takes the shape of whatever is holding it at the time and although water can be so gentle, it’s also the most powerful and malleable force in the universe. That’s also love, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what shape we put love into, it becomes that, whether it’s man, woman or creature.” – Guillermo del Toro on THE SHAPE OF WATER
Producer, screen-writer, actor, and director Guillermo del Toro is one of cinema’s greatest visionaries! Best known for titles like PAN’S LABRYNTH and HELLBOY series, he’s an artist with distinguishable visions and never will there be another like him. One hundred years from today when film communities talk about some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, del Toro will stand out, and seriously hope THE SHAPE OF WATER is part of that conversation as one of his best pieces.
Blessing us yet again with another cryptic fairy tale, del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER is set against the backdrop of Cold War era America. Set in the early ‘60s, In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.
No other way to express it other than I loved it! I enjoyed every dark moment of this film. Unless you can name someone, I can’t think of anyone else who can make monster movies look and sound beautiful. Del Toro’s TSoW is truly a cosmic experience. One that elevates your soul into a gritty realm of believing what’s unbelievable. The film is an artistic salute to unconditional love. It’s not “reinventing the wheel” of taboo attractions (SPLASH or BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), but the narrative’s arc balanced with a mute Sally Hawkins, to an intensely vocal Michael Shannon, and an oddity full of questionable intrigue meshes well. The overall scope of the film is another metaphoric display of fear, confusion, and extreme behavior towards what humanity doesn’t understand.
Labeled by many as a remake of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, I can see how and why this film captured the hearts of many as it ran its festival gauntlet. A very strange, weird, and ensemble-like mashup of genres that delivers one of the most enticing tales to date. The film also stars Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Grade: A+ / Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy / Rated: R / Run Time: 2 Hrs. 3 Min.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro