Movie Review: “The Shape of Water”

Tom Capone, Contributing Writer | 

“The Shape of Water” is the latest film by director Guillermo Del Toro and was written by Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film was awarded two Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards, one for Best Picture and one for Directing. This honor is well deserved, as it is possibly one of the best films of 2017.

The movie’s premise is centered around Sally Hawkins’ character of Elisa, who is mute and works at a secret government facility as a janitor. She soon falls in love with an unnamed Amphibian Man, played by Doug Jones.

The main theme of the movie is love, namely who we love and how that love can change us. The film also deals with communication in an interesting way—neither Elisa nor the Amphibian Man can speak, yet they manage to communicate stronger than any of the other characters in the film.

Other stand out elements of the film are the side characters, among which there are no weak links. Michael Shannon stars as the head of the facility where Elisa works and gives the best performance he has given in the last few years. Octavia Spencer, who plays Elisa’s friend and co-worker, is fantastic as usual. Richard Jenkins also dishes out a strong performance as Elisa’s neighbor.

“The Shape of Water” at its core is a fairy tale, which is what allows the film to work. It takes what would be the plot of a Disney movie and shapes it to cater to adult audiences, giving the themes of love a better chance of being understood.

However, the film does not strictly take the fairy tale route; it also has Cold War-related spy elements woven into the story of romance, making the film truly unique. One would not expect fairy tales and spy narratives to mix well, but, here, they do. The juxtaposition allows the film to maintain a realistic feel while simultaneously dealing with unrealistic elements.

Throughout the whole movie remains the importance of love, both between friends and between significant others, a relevant message in our world today.

It is apparent that Guillermo Del Toro put a lot of effort into this film. The director has been one of the hardest workers in Hollywood ever since he first came onto the scene. He has made smaller films such as “Pans Labyrinth,” as well as bigger films such as “Pacific Rim.”

“The Shape of Water” is one of Guillermo Del Toro’s best films ever and should be seen by a wide audience. “The Shape of Water” is a nine and a half out of ten.

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