A Review of "The Shape of Water” by Nathan H. Box
Director: Guillermo del Toro, Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, Starring: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon
Rating: 4 Stars, SHOWTIME
At a top-secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.
Two quick things. Without a doubt, “The Shape of Water” is one of the weirdest movies I have seen this year. Secondly, Guillermo del Toro is a genius. We will tackle the second point first.
“The Shape of Water” is framed in a beautiful and almost impossible to describe way. From the match on action of every scene to the way each shot seems to hold some color of water, we are made to feel as if we are a part of this world and not just observing it.
Now, my first point. On the surface, this film is about a woman played by Sally Hawkins finding a deep connection and forming a budding relationship with an amphibious creature from the Amazon. Yet, it is this ridiculous concept that reveals wider and more nuanced ideas.
The first thing del Toro wants us to understand is our common humanity; the thing we share with each other and those who are different from us. At the end of the day, we all wish and strive for the same things: housing, food, happiness, safety, etc. Anything beyond that is secondary.
Next, he wants us to understand those who society forgot. For this film, the focus is on a woman with a disability but in the wider world, the characteristics can be anything from race, gender, orientation, beliefs, and everything in between.
Finally, I believe he means to have us think about the meaning of freedom. I left the theater ruminating on what it means to love who I want, express my beliefs without fear, and be the person who makes me the happiest.
Guillermo del Toro manages to do all this while directing a film that is also about the Cold War. For that alone, this movie is worth seeing. In fact, my only critique of this film would focus on Octavia Spencer. This woman is too talented to continually be “The Help.” Hollywood, she deserves better and more.
Be good to each other,
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