Master of all things weird and wonderful, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro may just have a cinematic triumph on his hands with the magical The Shape of Water. Audiences and critics alike swim in harmonious joy over this aquatic love story that follows the lonely, mute Elisa as she works the cleaning night shift at a top secret government research facility. One day she discovers an amphibious creature being held in captivity - quickly forming an unlikely and fateful relationship with it ...
Re-spinning the classical monster movie formula, Del Toro creates what is unquestionably cinema's most diverse love story. Inspired by the classic 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon, Del Toro delivers a tale that breaks all genre conventions - creating a heartstring tugging fairytale where we root for the 'monster' rather than fearing it. The Shape of Water is easily one of the riskiest twists attempted by any mainstream director, and quite frankly Del Toro couldn't have pulled it off any more beautifully.
The creature, or monster along with the dark and terrifying mysteries it beholds, is juxtaposed against the warmth and colour of Elisa's innocent, yearning compassion. You may question how a film about a woman who falls in love with a fish man can be at all meaningful, but what seems like a faintly absurd premise proves to be a crashing wave of melancholy emotion. Just like water, Alexandra Desplat’s huge, smooth, spellbinding score laps against the senses, perfectly complementing Del Toro’s intensely visual, almost dreamlike fantasy world.
The Shape of Water dives into delicate themes of difference, alienation, un-fulfillment and the challenge of finding your voice in complete, isolated silence. Set in an oppressive 60's Baltimore at the height of the Cold War, Del Toro assembles three of society's most outcast individuals: an african-american cleaner, a gay painter and a handicapped woman. Exploring a poignant message of how people fear what they do not understand, the creature symbolises all who have been shut out from the rest of the world. The Shape of Water is a raw, warts and all fairytale that highlights the possibility of against-the-odds love towards quite literally anyone, of any species.
Elisa - whose disability separates her from the rest of society - symbolises all those without a voice. Sally Hawkins’ blissfully shy and apologetic demeanor never falters as she is drawn to the creature, which appears to be the only living thing who doesn’t judge her for what she lacks. Though it may be unconventional, their relationship evolves and intensifies with unforeseeable consequences.
Ironically Elisa is the films loudest voice, yet never utters a single word. Hawkins brings colour and life to each and every one of her moments on screen - her emphatic nature resonates with you across the entire picture. Elisa experiences genuine love for the first time, and doesn't allow her disability to tame or temper her emotions. She sees her chance at genuine happiness, and following a lifetime of isolation she is driven to fight for herself .
The Shape of Water reinvents the stereotypical Hollywood love story, Guillermo del Toro flipping a classical monster movie on its head to create an adventurous, beautiful tale. Words don’t really describe the blissful magic behind The Shape of Water - a romance brought to life by the passionately driven del Toro and the sensational Sally Hawkins, who delivers one of the finest female performances in recent years. This fishy fairytale is weird, wonderful and mystical and quite possibly the most unique love story you'll ever see.
The Shape of Water:
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.