Guillermo del Toro (best known for Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim) shines as a storyteller in the movie, The Shape of Water. The story, set in the 60s, during a time when the USA was in the mist of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War era, a mute cleaning lady, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) befriends and falls in love with an amphibian, played by, imprisoned in a government building where Elisa is employed. She is one of several women who clean the government facility. When she learns of the horrific experiments and treatment that her new friend is undergoing, and will undergo, she realizes that she must risk everything to help him escape.
It’s definitely a sci-fi take on Beauty and the Beast and The Creature of the Black Lagoon. The movie also shows how Elisa struggles to make her voice heard as she considers herself somewhat of a “beast” as well. The creature at first is frightening; some may say grotesque. Then, as the bond between him and Elisa blossoms that initial reaction is forgotten (not to spoil the movie but trust me) you begin to soften up to the creature.
Del Toro pushes the phrase “Love has no bounds” by showcasing how jarring and endearing the bond that develops between Elisa and Amphibious Man. The manner in which they communicate with each other was beautiful to watch. Neither speaks, they just depend on their physicality to communicate many emotions: love, hope, fear, anger, loneliness and forgiveness. They were able to push through impossible odds and making the effort to show they care. Their story shows we are more than capable of doing that as well, with all our technology and gadgets. The bond that forms between Elisa and the creature is jarring and endearing. Their relationship may push bounds for some, but also may strengthen what you define as love.
Sally Hawkins’ performance, is charming and graceful. The joy she expresses is contagious! Doug Jones as Amphibious man is tender and believable.
The Shape of Water is truly a wonderful movie it combined a lot of my favorites genres: sci-fi, period films, and fairy tales. Del Toro fans will not be disappointed with his story, his visual styling, his attention to colors, set design, costumes, and of course his monster. The soundtrack is memorable with wonderful period tune choices.
I loved this movie! I think you get that?! Go see it!