If you know me, or have been reading this site for a while you know that I love Guillermo del Toro‘s work, so there was no chance I was not going to see his latest film, The Shape of Water. Like almost all his movies it is visually stunning, but it also has a lot of heart to go with that visual splendor. There is no better purveyor of adult fairy tales than Mr. del Toro.
If you have heard anything about The Shape of Water than you know it is about a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with a fish-man/monster (Doug Jones) in a secret government lab, and for most movies that would be enough, but there are so many little things that go along with the main plot that fill in this film’s world beautifully. Things I will not spoil for you.
In del Toro’s movies it is never a surprise that the monster of the movie isn’t really the monster, and that is true here as well. What is surprise is how easy it is to empathize with Doug Jones’ fish-man. The character is beautifully brought to life and somehow feels completely normal in the strange world that is being shown on the screen. Sally Hawkins somehow makes her love of this ‘being’ believable. The rest of the cast is fantastic as well, but with the likes of Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Richard Jenkins that is hardly a surprise.
While the story and the acting are fantastic, half of the reason to see a del Toro movie is because he will always show you something incredible. He has a unique visual flair, and he keeps finding new wonderful things to show us. He also loves to use extremes. There are no half measures, while the movie is sweet and tender, the violence is graphic and harsh. The Shape of Water is rated ‘R’ for a reason. All the reasons.
The Shape of Water is a delightfully strange tale, and it is a perfect film for a weirdo like me. It will take more than a little graphic violence and some nudity to keep me from succumbing to The Shape of Water’s charms. Apparently I am not the only one because The Shape of Water earned Guillermo del Toro his first Golden Globe for directing. An award that was well deserved.