WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!!!
The Shape of Water is a 2017 American fantasy drama film about a mute custodian at a very highly-secured government laboratory who fell in love with a captured an amphibian humanoid creature caught from Amazon River where it was worshipped as a god. The story is set in 1962 at Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
The said film is directed by a Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro who also wrote the story with Vanessa Taylor. Among his famous movies are Pan’s Labyrinth, Blade II, Hellboy I and II, and the Pacific Rim.
The Shape of Water was screened at 74th Venice International Film Festival in the main competition section, where it premiered on August 31, 2017. The said film was also awarded the prestigious Golden Lion award for best film in the said competition. It was also screened at 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and it began its limited release in 2 theaters on December 1, 2017 at New York City before expanding from December 8, 2017.
The film has a production budget of merely $19.5 million, yet it grossed a worldwide income of $190.5 million. A novelization then of del Toro and Daniel Kraus was later published on March 6, 2018.
This said movie has received critical acclaim for its performances, direction, screenplay, visuals, production design, and musical score, with many critics regarded it as one of del Toro’s best works since his 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth. And as far as you know, it was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year 2017 by the American Film Institute bodies. The film also received a number of awards and nominations, and that includes 13 nominations at the 90th Academy Awards (Oscar Awards). It won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. It also won Best Director and Best Original Score among its 7 nominations at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
At British Academy Film Awards, it also received 12 nominations and luckily won 3 awards including Best Director. It also earned 14 nominations and won 4 awards including Best Picture and Best Director at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards.
The movie was cast by Oscar nominee and 48-time award-winning English actress Sally Hawkins (Poppy of Happy-Go-Lucky/ Ginger of Blue Jasmine/ Maud Lewis of Maudie/ Mary Brown of Paddington/ Viviene Graham of Godzilla/ Julie Ellis of A Brilliant Young Mind/ Olga of All is Bright/ Mrs. Reed of Jane Eyre) as Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaner who works at a secret government laboratory. Oscar Best Supporting actress from a 2012 film “The Help” and 31-time award-winning American actress Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan of Hidden Figures/ Minny Jackson of The Help/ Wanda of Fruitvale Station/ Johanna of Divergent movie series/ Roberta Taylor of Gifted/ Mrs. Otterton of Zootopia/ Tanya of Snowpiercer/ Martha of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters/ bank co-worker of Drag Me to Hell) as Zelda Delilah Fuller, Elisa’s co-worker and friend who also serves as her interpreter. Two-time Oscar nominee and 33-time award-winning American actor Michael Shannon (Half Spencer of 12 Strong/ Gary Noesner of Waco/ Maynard Greiger of Pottersville/ George Westinghouse of The Current War/ Zod of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice/ Frank of Frank & Lola/ Elvis of Elvis & Nixon/ Roy of Midnight Special/ Bobby Andes of Nocturnal Animals/ Lee Keller of Wolves/ Nelson Van Alden & George Mueller of Boardwalk Empire/ General Zod of Man of Steel/ Donnie of Machine Gun Preacher/ Henry of 13/ Doc Cross Williams of Jonah Hex/ John Givings of Revolutionary Road/ Lt. Gooz Wood of Pearl Harbor/ Aaron of Vanilla Sky) as Colonel Richard Strickland, a military official in charge of the project to study the “asset” which is the humanoid amphibian creature.
Eight-time award-winning American actor Doug Jones (Faun & Pale Man of Pan’s Labyrinth/ Abe Sapien of Hellboy/ The Silver Surfer of Fantastic 4: The Rise of Silver Surfer/ Dr. Carmack Imp of Doom/ Joey of Men in Black II/ Spy Morlock of The Time Machine/ Thin Clown of Batman Returns/ Ice Cream Man of Legion/ Saarebas of Dragon Age: Redemption/ William Barrow of Teen Wolf/ Deathbolt of The Flash/ Cochise of Falling Skies/ Creepy Old Man of Gehenna: Where Death Lives/ The Bye Bye Man of The Bye Bye Man/ Saru of Star Trek: Discovery/ Father Damien of Hell’s Kitty) as “Amphibian Man”, an amphibious creature referred to as the “asset”, with whom Elisa forms a close bond. Oscar nominee and 15-time award-winning American actor Richard Jenkins (Walter of The Visitor/ Dr. Robert Doback of Step Brothers/ Senator Willis of Kong: Skull Island/ Raphelson of White House Down/ Rodin of Jack Reacher/ Sitterson of The Cabin in the Woods/ Lotterman of The Rum Diary/ Mr. Tyree of Dear John/ Principal of The Tale of Despereaux/ Nathaniel Fisher of Six Feet Under) as Giles, Elisa’s neighbor and close friend who is also a struggling advertising illustrator. Golden Globe nominee and 11-time award-winning American actor Michael Stuhlbarg (Mr. Perlman of Call Me By Your Name/ Larry Gopnik of A Serious Man/ Richard Clarke of The Looming Tower/ Sy Feltz of Fargo/ Dr. Nicodemus West of Doctor Strange/ Agent Halpern of Arrival/ Andy Hertzfeld of Steve Jobs/ Arnold Rothstein of Boardwalk Empire/ Lew Wasserman of Hitchcock/ Rene Tabard of Hugo/ Ferris’ Attorney of Body of Lies) as Dr. Robert Hoffstetler and as Dimitri Mosenkov, a Soviet spy working as a scientist studying the creature under an alias. Three-time award-winning American actor Nick Searcy (Stan of Cast Away/ Sheriff Rawlins of The Fugitive/ Art Mullen of Justified/ Roy Buffkin of Easy Money/ Barry of Rodney/ Nathan & Nicholas Ramsey of Seven Days/ Deputy Ben Healy pf American Gothic) as General Frank Hoyt, a United States General who is also Strickland’s superior.
According to a review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 92% based on 343 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The website’s critical consensus reads:
“The Shape of Water finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best—and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance.”
On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87/100, based on 53 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”. IMDb gave 7.5/10 for its star-rating.
Based on my personal thoughts and review, The Shape of Water is one of the most successful fantasy drama films ever been made these days. It’s also like watching the 2009 film “Splice” where Adrien Brody led the role. Though this movie has also some mature content, yet this film is still one of the most remarkably done when it comes to fantasy and fiction. It indeed brings message that humans can able to convey or share information from any other creatures provided of their strong persuasion, and as highly regarded as having the highest intellect among all other creatures on Earth. A film that also denotes that the power of love knows no boundaries. Once you got into it or once you are struck by Cupid’s arrow, there’s no escaping into it. Love is blind, indeed. I give my 7.8/10 for this film. A convincing realistic fantasy film!
Here’s the trailer:
Featured Image: IMDb