Being praised around the world as one of the best films of the year from people visiting festivals, The Shape of Water is Guillermo Del Toro's latest venture into the strange and moving area of film. From Pan's Labyrinth to recent films like Pacific Rim, I've always enjoyed watching his films. While I won't be praising this film as much as some people have been, it will easily be receiving a recommendation from my end, but to the right crowd. The Shape of Water is a beautiful, yet strange tale of romance, and even though you've seen this particular story many times over, I feel as though there is enough of a fresh spin to win fans over. Here are my thoughts on The Shape of Water. To get this out of the way, people will surely be going into this film and receiving flashbacks from films like Beauty and the Beast, Splash, or even Shrek. Taking place in a fantasy world where men capture exotic creatures and use them to experiment on, Eliza discovers the creature after being tortured. Forming a very close bond with him, forming a plan to help him escape, and having him stay in her bathtub where he can have room to breathe, this very quickly becomes a very strange romantic tale that people will either buy into or find themselves wondering why they're watching this movie in the first place. Throughout the course of the film, certain characters will present themselves in order to provide fear to the creature or to make you side with him, so that the story may progress. There are definitely a few forced aspects about this film, but when everything is filmed and presented so wonderfully, it's hard to let that clash with your enjoyment of the movie as a whole. To add to that, it was clear that certain scenes or lines of dialogue were added to the film in order to give it a sense of realism, but some of the vulgarity actually took me out of the overall experience, due to the fact that it wanted to get you emotionally invested at the same time. You'll know what I mean if you choose to check out this film. Aside from appearances in Paddington or Blue Jasmine, I'd never really thought about Sally Hawkins as a leading lady of a major production, but sometimes you're proved to be severely wrong because her performance here floored me. I was incredibly invested in every single moment her character was on-screen and anything I didn't like about this movie faded away every time she interacted with someone and had to display her emotions through her sign language or by just simply tearing up or showing emotion through her eyes. I will be remembering this performance as one of the best of the year by year. In the end, where I think this film slightly fails is in its addition of human villains. The Shape of Water is a beautiful romance at its core, but I didn't feel the movie shows quite enough of it to really be a masterpiece, even though the production designers sure made it feel like a damn elegant piece of cinema. If for nothing else, the set design, along with the visual effects and art direction, will surely be included in the awards season to come, because it's some of the best I've seen all year (possibly even the absolute best). Overall, I can call The Shape of Water a damn solid film, but it's not quite as wonderful as I was hoping it would be. To fans of strange or unique films, I recommend you check out this movie. Many people seem to be adoring this film, and while I agree that it's impressive, it's just hard not to compare it to many similar concepts. A great, yet familiar experience.
The Shape of Water
From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fable set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. 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. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones.