The Shape of Water is a visually stunning, thought provoking film full of great performances. It is also my first introduction to director Guillermo del Toro’s style since I haven’t seen any of his movies before.
The film takes place in the 60s, where a mute woman named Eliza (Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor in a science lab along with her friend played by Octavia Spencer. Michael Shannon, who is the antagonist, has brought in a mysterious water creature he wants to kill and dissect. Eliza, having formed a special bond with this creature, is willing to do whatever it takes to save him.
Sally Hawkins was captivating as Eliza and it’s especially impressive because she doesn’t speak in the role, her performance is through her actions, facial expressions, and body language. The prosthetics and makeup on Doug Jones, who plays the fish man, were phenomenal and beautiful. I really loved Eliza’s friend, played by Richard Jenkins, in the film as well who is a closeted gay man struggling to get his art sold.
This is essentially a love story about a woman and a fish man which is kind of weird and can definitely turn some people off – I was weirded out during points of the film. But the film is more than just a love story. It’s a story about wanting to be complete. Everyone in the film – Eliza due to her muteness, Fish man due to not being human, Octavia Spencer’s character due to her race, and Richard Jenkins’s character due to his old age and sexuality have all been discriminated against by society so it makes sense why this group of people would bond together.
As for negatives I feel like we could have had more time with Eliza and the fish man to really solidify their relationship. Again their relationship is weird at times. The third act of the film was also a bit predictable.
To put it in other words, this film is almost the aquatic version of Beauty and the Beast. And I give The Shape of Water an A.