The Shape of Water Movie Review

Feb 17, 2018, 08:00 IST | Johnson Thomas

Guillermo Del Toro's films are never easy to sit through - especially so because of the brilliant, complex storylines he engages you with

Shape of water

The Shape Of Water
A: Drama fantasy
Dir: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins
Rating: Rating

Guillermo Del Toro's films are never easy to sit through - especially so because of the brilliant, complex storylines he engages you with. In this, his most challenging work to date, he fashions a love story borne of alienation and isolation. The film gives a romantic voice to unique beings born before their time.

Referred to here as The Princess without a voice, Elisa (Hawkins) is a mute cleaning lady who works in a high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. When she discovers the lab's classified new secret - a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank, she is more than just curious. Her fascination leads her to break all protocol and spend her leisure breaks getting to know the creature.

The Shape of Water isn't a fairy tale, as some might construe, given the opening dreamy sequence where a woman is seen floating in an underwater world. It's Del Toro's most magical moment in the film and he leaves you hoping for more to come. But the cruelty of the real world doesn't allow for such a romantic notion to sustain for long. Elisa's housemate Giles (Jenkins) and her fellow worker Zelda (Spencer) lend the princess their support, but even they are helpless in enabling her to pursue her dream.

Del Toro builds his characters with a mood of swooning romanticism that tries to overshadow the drudgery of their lonely, 'outside' existence. Alexandre Desplat's score adds weight to the poignancy, while cinematographer Dan Laustsen and editor Sidney Wolinsky work their magic through intrigue and momentum. Del Toro's attempt to marry moral corruptness with vintage romanticism in a dark fantasy romance, actually works - and the water imagery is hypnotic, to say the least!

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