By Dan Falla Romero (UK)

 

Directed by the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, and starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer.

The Shape of Water is the story of a mute by the name of Eliza, who works as a janitor in a top secret facility in the 1960’s. Run by Strickland (Shannon), the government is harbouring something extraordinary that Eliza just happens to stumble across whilst cleaning in a certain area, when she realises what this creature is, she soon realises that love isn’t only a thing meant to be shared by two humans.

Now this film sweeped up at the Oscars, taking best picture, best score, best production design and also best director.

I was worried that this film would’ve been completely overhyped and disappointing to me. I’m so happy to say that I’ve completely eaten those words and this film is so so worthy of the Best Picture award.

The Shape of Water is Del Toro’s best work in years. It’s an absolute spectacle to watch, every scene is just so scattered with little things here and there and all around the screen, and the deeper meaning behind the film is just gorgeous. I’ve never felt so emotionally connected to a mute and a monster, who also can’t talk.

Acting wise, no surprises here that it’s acted superbly. Sally Hawkins is incredible, if it wasn’t for Francis McDormand, then I think Hawkins would’ve taken best actress, you feel every inch of emotion from her and she doesn’t speak a word throughout. You really feel her pain, or her happiness, or any emotion she’s feeling, and that’s just by facial expressions and hand gestures, and that just blew me away, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done so well, Sally Hawkins take a bow, it’s an incredible performance.

Michael Shannon was my personal standout though, he floored me as Strickland. He’s one of those proper All American, 1960s father figures who constantly needs to be in control, otherwise he gets all pissy and feels insecure in my opinion. Michael Shannon is always brilliant and always delivers, and this is no excuse, he’s fantastic in this, a truly villainous human who’ll stop at nothing to sabotage certain plans.

The secondary characters are also really great, Richard Jenkins as Eliza’s friend and neighbour is also a real stand out, doing what he possibly can to help the one person in his life, you can see he loves her, not in the generic romantic way, but in a way that’s almost like family, a true friend, and you can tell he’d be lonelier than ever if he lost her. Octavia Spencer is also brilliant, but again, what isn’t she brilliant in at this point?

If you can’t tell by now, I adored The Shape of Water, the pacing is perfect, every scene was fantastic, the meaning behind the film was emotional and I can see it hitting a few people emotionally harder than others.

I don’t think this is a film for everyone, I don’t think all scenes are going to mesh with everyone and I think some people are going to be confused with the visual imagery and possibly offended by certain scenes. But for me, this is a perfect, gorgeous and heartfelt film, and truly is a remarkable love story. I adore The Shape of Water.

Rating: 5/5

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