THE SHAPE OF WATER
By Mary Cox
“The Shape of Water” received 13 Academy Awards nominations and has been redistributed for audiences so I thought I would review the film. This is not a film for everyone. It is a strange fantasy love story that will not please the majority of audiences.
At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor, who is unable to talk, forms a unique relationship with a fishlike creature that was captured in the Amazon River in South America. The beast is being held in captivity and the scientists want to kill it and autopsy the creature to see what makes it tick.
It has an outstanding cast. Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins stars as the mute janitor, Elisa. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays Elisa’s friend and fellow janitor, Zelda. Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins is Elisa’s neighbor, Giles, who can communicate with Elisa. Michael Shannon is the villainous Lab director who wants to kill the beast. The cast is outstanding.
Sally Hawkins is able to communicate to the audiences without ever uttering a word. Hawkins will look familiar to audience members who have children because she plays the mother in the Paddington Bear movies. “Paddington Bear 2” came out in December and was a wonderful Christmas film. Last year she played Maudie in the film “Maudie” about a disabled artist in Canada. She is an incredible actress with a chameleon like ability to morph into a variety of characters.
“The Shape of Water” is basically a beauty and the beast type of film. Guillermo Del Toro, who won a Golden Globe for directing the film, wrote all the Hobbit and the Hellboy films. The original story is by Del Toro and he wrote the script with Academy Award nominee Vanessa Taylor who is known for her work on the television show, “Game of Thrones.” Both writers are known for their fantasy scripts and “The Shape of Water” is definitely a fantasy.
This is a very weird film and you are either going to love it or hate it. Most film critics I saw this with loved “The Shape of Water”. I read the synopsis about the film which I rarely do and I thought I really didn’t want to go to this film. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though the story is very off beat, it enjoyed it. It was hard to think about a woman making love to a very slimy fish but if you can get around that you can enjoy this film. It is well acted, well written, and well directed.
This is an adult film with very graphic sexual scenes. This is not a film for young adults.
Unfortunately, you will have to travel to St. Louis to see the film. It can be seen at six movie theaters in St. Louis.