By Joshua Moore (Lee’s Summit, MO, US)

 

I went into this film pretty blind only knowing the plot point of a woman falling in love with a fish, but I left wanting to learn more about the characters and the world this film had created. Every feeling this movie wants you to feel comes out and they achieve this with amazing cinematography and impressive acting. The highlight being Sally Hawkins in the lead role. She manages to push some of the best emotion out of a lead role in the past year with using almost to no words and just facial expression and body movement.

All of the others actors were fantastic and completely disappeared into their respective roles and every single character and actor gets a scene for them to shine and push their characters to a certain limit. As I mentioned the cinematography is great, and while the shots themselves are creative and interesting to look at, something I feel that is going underappreciated is the color choices in each shot. It’s subtle, but blue, green, and gray play a major role in this film and around the set designs. It sets the tone for the entire movie. The music also compliments all of this, whether it is an original score or existing music.

The story itself is nothing you haven’t heard before. We’ve all seen a movie about a misunderstood creature/person being more than it seems, but the way this story is presented gives a really fresh look at this kind of plot. However the story structure isn’t totally perfect. While I was convinced of the relationship between Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones by the end of the film, I wasn’t when they first started falling into each other’s arms. It felt rushed and almost forced. I think a few scenes of them doing more than just learning how to communicate would’ve helped the first romantic scene established in the film. But like I said, I was convinced by the end, and I was won over with the dining table scene. Without spoiling anything, that scene had me smiling the entire time and made me really care about seeing those two characters together.

I did have other nitpicks with the film. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the powers giving to our fish man. I can accept the ability to heal himself and others, but the power we are shown at the very end of the movie seems pretty far stretched. The fact this power is shown at the very end of the film and nowhere else makes me feel like someone in the writing room wanted nothing more than a happy ending. I would’ve left this film with an exclamation point in my head, but unfortunately, I left the theater with a question mark instead. Also, this is an extreme nitpick, but I was a little confused on how our main lead was presented as and her relationships with others. The film tries to present her like she is unwanted, but every character in the film seems to like her. The only people in the film that seem to dislike her are the main antagonist and the lady who is angry that Sally is late for work all the time.

All in all, I loved this film and it nailed almost everything it wanted to achieve. My nitpicks are my own and I know they won’t bother others as much and me. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants something a little different, familiar and heartwarming all at the same time.

Rating: 4/5

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