My love of movies ranges across many genres. But, I am a plain old sucker for a love story and that is exactly what director Guillermo del Toro is giving us its his latest cinematic masterpiece The Shape of Water.
Taking place in 1952, the attention to detail with this film is quite impressive. It’s one of my favorite things about The Shape of Water. An unusual love story of a deaf-mute janitor (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with something that literally looks like the Creature From The Black Lagoon (Doug Jones) made an impact because it feels like a cinematic ode to several styles of film (Horror, Thriller, Film Noir, Romance, Drama and good old Hollywood glamour).
Not so subtly the film sheds light, through its characters, on the fact that we are all more alike than we care to admit. Relationships thrive when both parties are loyal and respectful of feelings, space and position in this complicated world we dwell in.
Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito breaks and warms your heart all at the same time. She is truly a revelation. She doesn’t make you feel sorry for Elisa, but rather has you cheering her on as she discovers love, loss and heartbreak. Octavia Spencer as Zelda Fuller is hilarious and a much-needed comic relief. However, her humanity shines through in a scene with the film’s villain Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) as he pays an unexpected visit to her home.
Speaking of which, Michael Shannon is so spectacular at playing dastardly roles, it becomes difficult to distinguish whether or not he is actually acting.
Michael Stuhlbarg as the diabolical doctor with a heart (Dr. Robert Hofstetler) makes a complex, yet predictable character come to life with verve and nerve.
Guillermo del Toro told me that the shooting of the bathroom scene was done only once. My jaw dropped to my crack and when you see the film you’ll know why. His attention to detail is absolutely breathtaking. He told me that the color aesthetic was chosen very carefully, “Red was chosen for Elisa. Green was to represent the future, whereas, the blue and brown tones were to represent everyone else.”
Produced by Fox Searchlight, The Shape of Water is hands down the most cinematically gorgeous film I have seen this year and is open in select cities TODAY!