Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Fantasy drama directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro. Set during Cold War America, The Shape of Water follows government laboratory worker, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), where she is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker, Zelda (Octavia Spencer), discover a secret classified experiment, an other-worldly creature (Doug Jones), who has been captured by the government and held in isolation. Elisa with the help of Zelda tries to help the creature before it gets subjected to experiments by a cruel government agent, Strickland (Michael Shannon).
Our Favorite Quotes:
Giles: If I spoke about it, if I did, what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems, in the last days of a fair prince’s reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast, but far from everything else. Or, I don’t know. Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you about the truth of these facts and the tale of love and loss, and the monster who tried to destroy it all.
Richard Strickland: [referring to Elisa] Is she deaf?
Zelda Fuller: Mute, sir, she can hear you.
Richard Strickland: [to Elisa] You clean that lab, you get out.
Richard Strickland: [to Elisa and Zelda] The thing we keep in there is an affront, and I should know I dragged it all the way here.
Fleming: This may very well be the most sensitive asset ever to be housed in this facility.
Richard Strickland: [referring to the creature] The natives in the Amazon worshipped it, like a God.
Richard Strickland: You may think that thing looks human. It stands on two legs, right? But we’re created in the Lord’s image. You don’t think that’s what the Lord looks like, do you?
Zelda Fuller: [to Eliza] That’s good, looking like you don’t know anything.
Dr. Robert Hoffstetler: This creature is intelligent, capable of language, of understanding emotions.
Giles: [referring to the creature, interpreting Elisa] When he looks at me, the way he looks at me. He does not know what I lack or how I am incomplete. He sees me for what I am, as I am. He’s happy to see me Every time, every day. And now I can either save him or let him die.
Zelda Fuller: [To Elisa] It’s a lot of blood. What went on in here?
Richard Strickland: [to Elisa] It was you that found my fingers. There was mustard on them.
Giles: [to Elisa, referring to the creature] “Get him out.” What are you talking about? No.
Richard Strickland: If you know something about what transpired here it’s your obligation to report it.
[referring to Elisa as she starts signing]
Richard Strickland: [to Zelda] What did is she saying?
Richard Strickland: [referring to the creature] We need to take it apart, learn how it works.
Dr. Robert Hoffstetler: What happened?
Richard Strickland: It’s an animal. We’re just keeping it tame.
Dr. Robert Hoffstetler: [referring to the creature] I don’t want an intricate, beautiful thing destroyed!
Zelda Fuller: Don’t do this, Elisa. Don’t do this.
Zelda Fuller: [as they’re trying to sneak the creature out of the facility] Oh, woman, we’re going to burn in hell.
Giles: [to Elisa] We can do nothing, I’m sorry!
Giles: Look, it’s not even human.
Elisa Esposito: [signing] If we do nothing, then neither are we.
General Hoyt: The Soviet’s wants it, we know that much.
General Hoyt: The Soviet’s wants it, do you have it?
Richard Strickland: Sir, I’m getting it back.
Richard Strickland: Did either of you see someone coming in or out of the lab?
Zelda Fuller: Nothing out of the ordinary.
Fleming: This is the most sensitive asset ever to be housed in this facility.
Richard Strickland: How did they get in here?
Fleming: We are looking at a highly trained group of at least ten men, efficient, ruthless, clockwork precision.
Giles: [to Eliza] I’m going to be synchronizing our watches just like they do in the movies.
General Hoyt: The asset, do you have it?
Richard Strickland: Sir, I’m getting it back.
General Hoyt: Our concern is the Russians. Unf*** this mess.
General Hoyt: [to Strickland] Son, unf*** this mess.
Richard Strickland: [looking in the mirror] You deliver, that’s what you do. You deliver! Right? Right?!
Richard Strickland: [to Eliza] If you know something you’re not telling me you’re going to tell me.
Zelda Fuller: We didn’t see nothing.
Richard Strickland: [to Elisa and Zelda] What am I doing interviewing the s**t cleaners?
Dr. Robert Hoffstetler: We need to get him back in the water.
Richard Strickland: [threatening Zelda] One last, where is it?
Lou: Listen, fella…
Richard Strickland: Sit down!
Zelda Fuller: [referring to Strickland] Elisa, honey. He’s coming for you. You got to go now and you got to take that thing with you.
Richard Strickland: I deliver.
Richard Strickland: What did you say to me?
Elisa Esposito: [signing] FU…
Richard Strickland: [to Zelda] What did she say? What is she saying?!
Zelda Fuller: She is saying, “Thank you.”
Giles: He’s a wild creature. We can’t ask him to be anything else.
Richard Strickland: [to Hoffstetler] You were speaking Russian, Bob!
General Hoyt: Finish the job, son.
Giles: If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did. That they were in love, that they remained in love? I’m sure that’s true. But when I think of her, of Elisa, the only thing that comes to mind is a poem, whispered by someone in love, hundreds of years ago. “Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love. It humbles my heart, for You are everywhere.”
Lana (South Africa) says
This was an INCREDIBLY strange and amazing film, i felt uncomfortable, happy, sad, and every emotion in between whilst watching this. The cast does a amazing job embodying their characters. I will forever have a sour taste in my mouth when I see Micheal Shannon on screen, I have a world of respect for him for portraying such a horrible, typical 1960’s stereotype of a man. As for Sally Hawkins, she portrayed an incredible curiosity of a person. I could not take my eyes off her, if only out of morbid curiosity. She did an incredible job.
The story was, whilst semi-cliché, wonderful. This was the most uncomfortable, beautiful love story I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Haseeb Rasheed (Pakistan) says
I’d love it because it makes my imagination more broad, a mesmerizing feeling in whole movie. Guillermo del Toro best movie until now, actually it based on history but i think it still applies today. we make laws, but greatest thing society can achieved how to implement it and how to educate the society. An imaginative movie and also anti establishment art. It tells a lot how the governments changes public mind making them think like government. Hate whoever they like to hate. The shape of water based at 60s when different wars occurring e.g cold war, LGBT, Black rights, women.
Two great powers were fighting to rule on earth Soviet Unions and USA. Soviet and USA becomes so obsess in fish, its becomes edge to win the war. Then came between two powerful countries some isolated humans a mute girl, a Gay, a psychological inflicted evil state employ. When a person afflicted with disability we humans don’t want to understand but make judgement about them. Meeting between two innocence creatures a mute woman and fish make me feel so alive.
My favorite quote: “Life is but a shipwreck of our plans.”
The movie was like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Brilliant work!
Kam Sham (UK) says
Shape of water … Film review
Hadn’t got a clue, read no reviews but soon after I was glued.
Set in the backdrop of the Cold War in the 60s, where relations between USA-Russians were still sore. This formed the core premise of evolving a different passenger for the space race, but wot happened was a disgrace!
An amphibian being is captured & experimented with, sometimes brutally for the sake of science by a sad sadistic human being. But sympathy & empathy is close at hand as a cleaner takes a shine to the odd ball being. Then unravels a story of grit & courage that could never be disparaged.
A tale of two unsuspecting characters that show their worth on beloved earth.
One, an old man, fizzled out artist trying to get back into employment & and the other a diminutive female mute who is a cleaner.
Somehow they clutch the being from the claws of death & escape to fight another day.
One liners …
A fish/man called absconder
You’ll be buoyed
Weird is wonderful
The cinematography was immense as I was immersed in the unrealistic plot, the director must me commended for the feel of realism that the film portrayed, even though it was a fantasy.
Go & blow your money on this film pot full of character honey.
Kam copycoy 2018
Cheyenne Perkins (Pennsylvania) says
Guillermo del Toro has created a wonderful beautiful masterpiece with his film The Shape of Water. Del Toro shows his audience what a true monster is and how a meaningful connection can be formed. The two main characters never utter a single word. They speak with their eyes and their hearts. We all share in our feelings of suffering, but Del Toro also shoes is that true love and acceptance comes in many forms.
Every actor gave a believable performance, and I was not disappointed. Going in to this film, I did not know how it would unfold. I only knew it was a monster movie. I was pleasantly surprised at the ending, because, in true Del Toro fashion, he does the unconventional. Viewers want the monster to die, and I’m not talking about the fish man. All in all, this film is one that everyone should see and buy. I saw it twice in theaters and wish I could’ve went again. Everytime I see it, I notice something new. My advice is to go and see it now.
Shamit Rahman (Vancouver, BC, Canada) says
“Tragedy and delight, hand in hand.”
One of the central themes of Shape of Water is the pursue of understanding and belonging. The characters are not alone, they have a friend or two, but they still have a void, particularly Eliza who is mute, and her closeted artist friend and neighbour Giles.
The setting being in the 1960s, the first words of the film “If I told you about her — the princess without a voice”, the first scene, makes it clear the film is meant to be almost a fairy tale, a once upon a time, except here the Beast does not transform to a handsome prince, and the “princess” does not go to live in a royal castle.
Fulfillment here, comes through acceptance and understanding, and seeing others as they are. Eliza sees the amphibian man as what he is, as she sees her neighbour Giles, as her friends, unlike other characters who are sometimes homophobic and racist, and the main antagonist who sees the workers as below him greeting them first with a facade of good behaviour, and his family and his possessions as only status symbols, and the amphibian man as an ugly creature.
Visually the film is stunning. Eliza lives, literally above a cinema, her apartment shades of green and blue like the ocean, and the references to classic cinema, the use of the song “You’ll Never Know” reminds the audience how much the film itself loves cinema.
The setting is a bit odd and might be a turn off for some, but keep an open mind and remember what the central point is. It’s not the romance. Go watch the movie. It’s worth it.