Much like Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water combines the fantasy world of monsters with the real world of humans in a dark, dramatic, and beautiful way. It is about the romance between a mute cleaning lady and a magical water creature being held in the government facility that she tends to. Think Beauty and the Beast for adults.
There were a few things that stood out to me. First and foremost was the performance of Sally Hawkins. She displays a wide range of emotion without saying a single word (well, besides one moment where she fantasizes in song). She brings a complexity and depth to her character that elevates this film in a powerful way.
As expected in a del Toro film, it was aesthetically stunning. Not only was the central “monster” something to behold, but the entire film is gorgeous. Every frame of every scene makes full use of light, location, movement, and sound in way that will suck you into the simultaneously dark and whimsical mind of Guillermo Del Toro.
I have no critiques on the crafting of this film. Del Toro is referred to as a master because he is. My only justification for rating this a 3.5 instead of a 4 is that it isn’t one of these movies that I haven’t been able to get out of my head days after viewing. I watched it, I liked it, and I didn’t think much else about it. While it was a unique take on a classic story, it was still just a classic story and as a result — a bit predictable.
The Shape of Water: 3.5 out of 5