The Shape of Water is a beautifully told story of love, loneliness and what it means to be human. Guillermo Del Toro truly took my breath away with this film. From the soundtrack, the visually stunning cinematography, to the acting performed by this incredible cast all contributed to making this film a home run for me.
This film tells us the story of Elisa, a mute woman who works at a secret government laboratory. Everyday contains the same monotonousness routine of work, sleep and taking care of her neighbor, Giles. One day, while Elisa and her friend Zelda are cleaning, a large tank is brought in and they hear strange screaming noises from within. Gradually Elisa realizes there is a creature inside. She begins to sneak in to spend time with him, teaching him sign language and sharing hard-boiled eggs. However, Strickland (the man who captured the creature in South America) decides to dissect the creature leaving Elisa two choices – save her newfound love or let him die.
The performances in this film were wonderful. Octavia Spencer (who plays Zelda) was a bright light in every scene she was in. Michael Shannon (Strickland), as we all know, plays an extremely competent bad guy. There were so many scenes that he just made my skin crawl. But Sally Hawkins as Elisa truly stole the show. Her performance was beautiful in every way. Her chemistry with the creature was palpable in every scene. Even though she was mute in the film, her emotions were read loud and clear.
I love a good tortured monster romance movie. I think of the greats like The Bride of Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, and in my opinion, The Mummy (the 1999 version – not that horrid remake starring He Who Shall Not Be Named). These movies make you sympathetic for the monster’s plight. This remains true throughout this story. I laughed, I gasped, and I most certainly teared up. I highly recommend this movie and am glad that it is receiving some of the recognition it deserves.