Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured humanoid-amphibian creature.Wikipedia
The Shape of Water Reviews
It’s hard to define The Shape of Water -- after all, does it really have a shape? del Toro uses it as an allegory to love. It isn’t something that can be contained within a shape. Instead allow love, and this film, to envelop you like water. I’m going with four out of five for this incredible film.
Guillermo Del Toro has always made sensationally strange movies, but with this one it is as if he, like his heroine, is finally unafraid to be beautiful.
That The Shape of Water has 13 Oscar nominations indicates that the love story largely floats above the problems with the film — buoyed to a large extent by a timorous, luminous, powerful Sally Hawkins.
It’s a film only Guillermo del Toro could’ve made - full of injustice, but also, crucially, decency. It deserves each of its 13 Oscar nominations.
While the premise isn't exactly anything new, it's del Toro's masterful execution that makes this film stand out.
Del Toro hits a cinematic nerve in capturing an enduring love for the oddball, the beauty in the bizarre and, most importantly, reminding what it's like to have what one wished for since a kid -- a happy ending.
More than its visual brilliance, what captivates you the most is Del Toro’s ability to capture the minutiae of his ordinary characters’ everyday life. An unlikely amalgamation of supernatural, spiritual and sci-fi elements, The Shape of Water at heart, is a simple tale of hope and empathy. It rebuilds your faith in love, which isn’t and shouldn’t be defined by a certain shape or form.
So watch the film, be awed by the painterly visual palette it offers, be swept away by the emotions it renders. There are unfortunately a few cuts imposed by our beloved CBFC but don’t let that deter you from experiencing a magical time at the cinema.
Denuded of that sense of layered luminosity that we have seen in Guillermo del Toro's best works (Pan's Labyrinth and Crimson Peak), The Shape Of Water would have been a classic children's fairytale if the Beauty did not have the hots for the Beast. Bathtubs will never be a place of innocent contemplation again.
The star, however, is Del Toro’s direction that constrains your chest in anticipation of the inevitable and simultaneously also swells your heart, reiterating that love does transcend everything, and in this case even species. And like the shape of water, it is all around us when submerged in it.
Audience Reviews for The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water
What shape can you give to water, to life, relationships? Should the shapes be pre-determined, where the evolving can be boxed in? Should they be judged by whether or not they fit in? Elisa is a mute cleaning lady who goes through life with clockwork regularity. The mundane humdrum of her life is broken by the desperate flapping limbs, blood and loneliness of an alternate humanlike living form, brought in from the Amazonian swamps, for whom she develops an instinctive sympathy and quickly, love. Guillermo del Toro traces the heroic in the vulnerable, the innocent, the marginalized. In ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, it was the sweet child Ophelia who was summoned by a faun to fulfill the tasks that would allow her to reclaim her childhood. Here it is Elisa who comes to the rescue of the being who is alternately referred as ‘creature’, ‘asset’ or even ‘God’. His entry is followed by the song “Babalu’ sung by Caterina Valente and Silvio Francesca. The song makes a reference to the Santería deity Babalú Ayé, and suggests the godlike importance of the watery creature who has just been brought. Elisa rescues this creature, this deity, from a research facility that sees his only use in anatomical study through vivisection. In turn, she is rescued from a mechanical life where even her self-pleasuring is timed through a suggestive egg shaped alarm.
In Guillermo del Toro’s oeuvre, the mythological frequently penetrates the real, shattering its smugness, and often impregnating it with meaning that is forever bursting against the seams of the possible. We are presented with a rich palette of colours, forms and shapes, even motifs. The cinematic canvas is illuminated in a noir lighting and the real is made surreal through an expressionist take as we see blood, emotions surge and spill. The music of Alexandre Desplat is eerily evocative and sensuous, often melancholic, deeply introspective, as soaring and dexterous as del Toro’s narrative, and completely merging with it. Human and superhuman fuse in this timeless fairytale in an avalanche of water, their feelings submerging any need for verbal expression. Water is the medium of fusion, of the dissolution of boundaries, identities, genres. The shape of water is an illusion as it simply acquires the shape of the vessel. In our short-sightedness, we often believe the shape of water to be the shape of vessel that it occupies, the shape of feelings to be the form of social relationship that it inhabits. Water let loose, overflows the tub, submerges the habitat, drips through the roof of the narrative and celebrates the manifestation of myth in life. It is no wonder then that when the transformative passion of our protagonists is disrupted by the bruised ego of a triumphalist, they take leave of the terra firma and seek sanctuary in water. In a way, the humanoid is the submerged, vulnerable, unexpressed part of Elisa that needs to be rescued and expressed. It, in turn, redeems her.