MOVIE REVIEW: “The Shape of Water” stars Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, Premium Rush), Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers, The Visitor), Octavia Spencer (The Help, The Shack), Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs, Arrival), Doug Jones (Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pan’s Labryinth), David Hewlett (Cube, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Nick Searcy (Cast Away, The Fugitive ). It was directed by Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak), who also wrote the screenplay with Vanessa Taylor (Divergent, Hope Springs). In a top secret government facility in the 1960s, a mute janitor (Hawkins) comes in contact with an amphibious creature (Jones), forming a unique relationship that will bring about dangerous consequences for the two.
Ah, romance between a woman and a fish. Sign me up! If there’s anything to be said about “The Shape of Water,” it’s that I’ve never seen anything like it before. Guillermo Del Toro’s fantastical tale of a mute woman forming a bond with an amphibian unfolds on the screen in an elaborate fashion, boasting beautiful cinematography, spectacular set and costume design, and enriching performances. Without taking the romance into account, you could say that this is one heck of an interesting release. Unfortunately, there had to be fish sex. Before I revel in my complaints about “The Shape of Water,” I will say that this is a very good movie. As I stated, it has a ton to admire, from direction to setting. I loved the world this feature was set in; seeing what was going on in the atmosphere of this world Del Toro set up was fascinating in itself. The performances that dance across the screen were also fantastic, with stellar entries from Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon (one of my personal favorites). It’s hard to go wrong with this cast and sure enough they give life to these characters in a big way. The story that these characters fill is an interesting one. I’ve never seen one like it before, and can safely say that it’s great to watch something fresh. With that in mind, there are issues I faced concerning the plot. The biggest of them all would be the romance shared between Elisa and the fish. I mean, come on now. I don’t think there was ever a route to travel on with this concept where I would either relate or understand. Sure, Elisa feels alone in the world due to her muteness, but that doesn’t disregard the fact that she falls in love with a fish…and has sex with it (which they tried to show in a tasteful way…yeah, right). Why Del Toro thought of this, you’ve got me; at least it’s original, if I could give him any credit. Besides that, there are many plot devices trying to be crammed in one film, all of which are pretty predictable. You’ve got a race between America and Russia, a double spy, a romance between a fish and a woman, and an old man trying to hook up with a younger guy. It’s a ton to consume, and to say that all of it was necessary would be a stretch (especially the bit between the old man and the young guy). Certainly, there were great moments from almost all of these arcs. Any scene involving Michael Shannon (except for the sex sequence) was great, and I also loved how everything escalated towards the final minutes of the film. It’s just a bummer how predictable it was, even from the get-go. I wouldn’t say that this is a great movie, but I will go as far as to say that it’s really good. It’s aesthetically pleasing, has great performances, and a fresh story, regardless of its weird romance they try to make natural. FINAL SCORE: 81%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: