Not only is The Shape of Water one of del Toro’s most stunningly successful works, it’s also a powerful vision of a creative master feeling totally, joyously free.
The Hollywood Reporter
This meticulously crafted jewel is del Toro's most satisfying work since Pan's Labyrinth.
Without a single weak link in the exceptional cast...it’s a film that makes you feel a lot. But overridingly you feel lucky — lucky to be watching it, lucky that something so sincerely sweet, sorrowfully scary and surpassingly strange can exist in this un-wonderful world, and desirous of hanging on to as much of its magic for as long as you can after you reemerge back onto dry land.
Guillermo del Toro channels all the streams that make him unique into The Shape Of Water, pouring his heart, soul and considerable craft into an exquisite creature fable.
Perhaps the greatest of The Shape of Water’s many surprises is how extravagantly romantic it is, driven throughout by an all-conquering belief in soulmates as lifelines.
Like the best bath you’ve ever had, it sends tingles coursing through every part of you that other films don’t reach.
There’s something here for lovers of all kinds of movies — even silents and musicals — but the director transcends mere pastiche to craft a work that feels like the product of our collective film-going subconscious.
The Film Stage
In order to enjoy the myriad pleasures of del Toro’s world — with all its counterpointed humor, quicksilver pacing, endearing humanity, peculiar eroticism, and sudden eruptions of violence — one must simply take the plunge.
Yes, Del Toro’s latest flight of fancy sets out to liberally pastiche the postwar monster movie, doffing its cap to the incident at Roswell and all manner of related cold war paranoia. But it’s warmer and richer than the films that came before. Beneath that glossy, scaly surface is a beating heart.
It's witty, smart and brilliantly played, plumbing the sub-aqueous depths of our psyches, our histories and desires.