Film: The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Shannon
Review: Maria Agostini
Rating: 4.5X’s out of 5X’s
The Shape of Water is everything you could want from a Guillermo del Toro film. It is weird, inspiring, corky, visually stunning, and magical all at once. Guillermo del Toro has mastered the genera of “adult fantasy” and traps viewers in a captivating adventure of misfits who try to make a difference. As expected, the visual effects and makeup exceeded expectations and Doug Jones brought the amphibious creature to life even through his costume. The story kept the audience laughing and on their toes from the moment we meet Elisa to the classic Guillermo del Toro ambiguous ending.
Sally Hawkins, who played Elisa Esposito, did an stunning job portraying a sassy but compassionate mute woman in a world where she is often overlooked. Elisa and her coworker, Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer, are janitors at a top secret research facility. One while cleaning up after an gruesome accident in a restricted lab, Elisa comes in contact with strange amphibious, played by Doug Jones. As Elisa regularly cleans the lab, she forms a unique relationship with the creature regardless of their communication barrier. Elisa becomes sympathetic for the creature when she realizes it is being tortured for research by Richard Strickland, the sadistic head of research played by Michael Shannon, and begins to plot a dysfunctional rescue mission to save the creature.
Guillermo del Toro brought truly a beautifly awkward and magical story to life in The Shape of Water. Though the story contains an unconventional romance, the oddity of the relationship is easily overlooked by the comparison of Elisa and her dedication to saving an innocent life. What was amazing about the film was that even though you know the relationship is taboo and you know you “shouldn’t” be in favor of it, you don’t care because you are seeing a group of people, all in some way “not accepted” by society's standards, working together to save someone who is also different.
The Shape of Water has been nominated for 13 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), and Best Supporting Actress and Actor (Octavia Spencer Richard Jenkins). Though it is not a typical Academy Award film, The Shape of Water may steal the show at this year’s Academy Awards.