Directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water is set in a top secret research facility in the 1960s, where a lonely mute janitor, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), discovers a secret classified experiment – a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. With the help of her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), Elisa rescues the creature from being captive by a hostile government agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), after the two form a unique relationship.
Guillermo del Toro is the man to go to if you want to make a film equally terrifying, fantastical, and engaging. He has such amazing ideas, and this tribute to old Hollywood monster movies blends perfectly with del Toro’s love of dark fairytales.
Whilst I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to divulge in a film about a mute woman falling in love with an amphibious sea creature, the refreshingly told story, remarkable performances, and enchanting score pulled me deep under the water with them. The use of bluey-green tones throughout gives this illusion, as the film feels like an elegant dance underwater. The Shape of Water is simply mesmerising.
I also love that the sea creature is played by Doug Jones, who you might (or most likely not) recognise from many of del Toro’s other films. He played the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth and a few of the ghosts in Crimson Peak. What a visually extravagant character list to have!