The Shape of Water contains physically intimate expressions of love between two different sets of characters, both inordinately different in tone. One is rather awkwardly aggressive with no real affection shown by either member of a married couple, while multiple other sequences depict Sally Hawkins’ sign language communicating mute Elisa and the film’s centralized human reminiscent amphibian creature in various stages of passionate lovemaking. Wisely, director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, and currently collaborating with celebrated video game director Hideo Kojima on the hotly anticipated Death Stranding) never gets too gratuitous with these acts, allowing the juxtaposition to breathe, but most importantly, further investing audiences into what will go down as one of the most magical fairy-tales of its generation.
Michael Shannon’s Strickland is an underdeveloped but terrific villain, especially when the script sets him loose on a warpath; I had the pleasure of meeting him before the movie started coming away with the impression that he is an amazing person in real life, although badly wanted to punch him in the face by the time the credits rolled. He’s that despicable here.
Without a doubt, The Shape of Water is going to rack up numerous Academy Award nominations and it will deserve every single one. It is so mesmerizing and stirring that Pan’s Labyrinth no longer holds the title of Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece. The Shape of Water is the absolute best film of the year.
The Shape of Water screened at the Chicago International Film Festival as the closing film.
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) 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.
The Shape of Water is set for release on December 8th.
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com