Set in Cold War era America, circa 1963, director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water is an other-worldly fairy tale and fantasy / romance about a lonely mute called Elisa. Played beautifully by Sally Hawkins, Elisa falls in love with ‘amphibian man’, a sea creature captured for a secret classified experiment to take place at Elisa’s work building where she cleans.
Featuring good performances by all, including Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon, I found Hawkins to be particularly captivating as Elisa. Her great performance along with the beautiful visuals, filming style – the way the camera barely stood still combined with the editing and pacing managed to keep me engaged.
The Shape Of Water is generally a well executed movie. Nevertheless, I’m not as enthused post viewing as I thought I might be. I understand the film’s message about love and how there are near to zero limitations in terms of where one can find it. Still, perhaps it’s just the kind of film, though good, it doesn’t inspire a certain level of excitement within me. It could have something to do with not really seeing myself ever falling in love with ‘amphibian man’. It could also be that the ‘love can be found anywhere’ message is one I’d already fully digested. Lastly, maybe I loved the first half more than I did the second half, where things got really serious. Yes, that may be it. I think I had more fun when Elisa was happy and tap-dancing in her corridor!
Richard Strickland’s (Shannon) voice and suit before the true nature of his character is revealed, the capabilities of ‘amphibian man’ and Hawkins’ performance are my favourite things about The Shape Of Water.
Watch it if you’re curious. Maybe you’ll be more wowed and enthused than I. It is the Best Picture Academy Award winner after all.
Happy Film Loving