The moment I witnessed the trailer for The Shape of Water, I knew that this movie would be a magical experience.
Guillermo del Toro has brought to life the film he always wanted to make and with an ensemble cast that creates magic all on their own, there’s no mistake that this cinematic journey is one definitely worth taking. This film brings together characters that would normally be cast as supporting characters and brings them to forefront of this extraordinary story. A mute cleaning lady, a black cleaning lady, a gay man and a sea creature would not normally be the protagonists and yet they find themselves being the heroes in this film. The story follows a mute woman who is a cleaning lady at a Government facility in which they have captured a sea creature who they perform experiments on.
I’ll be the first to admit that I often avoid movies in the Fantasy genre, but there was something about this film that captured me immediately. Maybe I was naive in my definition of the Fantasy genre, but if all other movies of the same category are anything like The Shape of Water then I need to rethink my movie choices. This film was extraordinary and while fully aware that I have yet to write a bad review on this website; I am here to convince you that The Shape of Water is the best film of 2017.
Sally Hawkins (playing Elisa) is magnificent in her role and I found myself paying attention to every little thing she did on screen. Her facial expressions, her hands closed in a fist with frustration, her dance moves; it all portrayed the necessary emotion at the perfect moments. I was captivated within the first 10 minutes of this film and I am now convinced that Sally Hawkins is absolutely supernatural. I am fully expecting an Actress in a Leading Role nomination for Sally at the upcoming Oscars and will be shocked if it doesn’t happen.
While fully aware that this is a film about a sea creature, I found myself often forgetting that the creature was not human. Doug Jones’ talent surpasses any expectations you may have. The chemistry between Sally and Doug is undeniable and though I wish they would’ve spent a bit more time within the facility and in the “courting” part of the relationship , I quickly found myself invested in the outcome of their relationship. It didn’t take long to forget that I was witnessing a creature and a woman fall in love because I was captivated by the story in front of me. My heart skipped a beat every time that Sally smiled and the moment they finally came together, the magic leapt out of the screen and took a hold of my heart.
Though not a political film, this movie makes quite a few political statements. Richard Jenkins, who plays Elisa’s neighbor and best friend Giles, has an entire subplot that makes a strong statement about gay men and how marginalized they continue to be. Octavia Spencer, who plays Elisa’s coworker and close friend Zelda, portrays a woman who accepts the simple life she leads while consistently accepting the shortcomings of her husband. It’s a beautiful moment for female friendships in film when we witness Zelda finally stand up to her husband in order to protect her friend. Guillermo del Toro has taken control of the narrative that consistently plagues the lives of “outsiders” (minorities, handicapped, members of the LGBTQ community) and he’s created a beautiful fairytale where he has given us the heroes that 2017 deserves.
Visually this film is absolutely stunning; the visuals accompanied by the beautiful musical score made for an unforgettable experience. Though admittedly, I watched a lot of the film with tears in my eyes (and at one point, crying non-stop) the visuals were not lost on me. The details in the sea creature created a story in itself, the office where the antagonist had most of his scenes resembled a fish tank and Gile’s drawings were an added form of expression that was necessary.
More than a love letter to cinema, The Shape of Water is a love letter to every single person who has felt “less than”. This is a happy ending for anyone who fears that they may not get theirs and Guillermo del Toro has truly outdone himself with this masterpiece of a film. He has captured the act of falling in love in an unconventional yet relate-able way and had me walking out of the theater with a tear-stained face and a heart full of love.
The Shape of Water opens Nationwide this week and I absolutely encourage you to go out and watch this film.
Unable to perceive the shape of You,
I find You all around me.
Your presence fills my eyes with Your love,
It humbles my heart,
For You are everywhere