Guillermo del Toro is back bringing us another beautifully made fairy tale that is sure to earn a lot of attention from audiences this week once it is released. The Shape Of Water is a fantastic tale of a woman who falls in love with a mysterious creature from the sea. It sounds strange, but trust me, del Toro spins us a tale like only he can and it is more than just some fish out of water story (sorry, I had to).
This tale centers around Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a young mute woman who works as a cleaning lady in a government research facility. Her simple life is turned upside down one day when the facility brings in its latest "asset" - a strange creature from South America. Sadly it is not just the creature that is new to arrive, but a hard nose government man Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). He is not only the man who helped capture this creature it is his job to see the facility finds out everything they can about it at whatever the cost or means. Elisa quickly learns that this new addition to the facility is more than just some mindless animal. When she learns of their plans for future of the creature she knows that something must be done before it is too late. With the help of her two friends Giles (Richard Spencer) and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) Elisa will risk everything for a creature she so deeply cares about.
This movie is a complete delight. Now I know this film won't be for everyone. It is out there in the world of storytelling, but if you are a fan of del Toro's previous films I have a hard time believing you won't love this one. Sally Hawkins just slays this role. She brings so much expression and emotion to her character, especially considering she can't speak through the entire film. She conveys so much of herself with just a look or a smile. It is wonderful. I also don't think we could have found a better villain than Michael Shannon. He is such a huge presence onscreen and when he flips the switch to bring a scary badass it just radiates from him. He is the nonsense man who was made to get the job done and that is his sole focus. Even peeling back his work facade leaves us with a less than delightful man to deal with as we see as the film goes on. The supporting cast as well is wonderful in this film. Octavia Spencer as Elisa's co-worker and the friend brings sass and humor to the film when things get a little too intense and the same can be said for Richard Jenkins's role as Giles, Elisa's best friend, and neighbor. Also, we can't talk about this movie without giving love to Doug Jones who plays our Amphibian Man. Even behind all the make-up, this man is a phenomenal actor and hats off to him for enduring the hours of make-up and costume it took to bring this character to life and still have the strength to bring humanity to a character that is just trying to survive the awful circumstances he has been thrown into.
There are plenty of things in this movie that will catch you off guard. There are things that will easily have you saying "WTF" but more than anything I think this film will have many people watching with almost a child-like wonder as they take in the story of these two star-crossed lovers. Finding beauty in things that are different is one of del Toro's greatest talents and there is no shortage of that here. Fearing what is different is human nature but so are love and curiosity and those are the biggest players in the film. So if you want a little fantasy magic in your holiday movie plans I would highly recommend looking no further than The Shape Of Water. It is unlike anything else you will see at the box office right now. I personally loved this movie and gave this one an easy A+. It was easy to see why this film will definitely be catching the eye of critics and award shows this season.
Don't miss The Shape Of Water in theaters everywhere December 15th.