User Reviews (743)

  • bigsmiles-284642 January 2018
    So disappointing.
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was taught before criticism that you should first bring up the good points. Good points: Cinematography, good actors, great old movie clips and music, great sets, good costumes, and an extremely promising storyline. Unfortunately, this movie missed, when it really could have, and SHOULD have, hit. I think from now on I'll choose my movies based upon how they're doing at the box office, and not based on reviews. It seems to be a better indicator of what the public REALLY thinks about a film. We're at week 3 and (for such a seemingly magnificent film), The Shape of Water hasn't even broken even. A telling clue. Budget:$19,400,000 (estimated) Opening Weekend USA: $166,564, 3 December 2017, Limited Release Gross USA: $12,140,155, 28 December 2017

    Personally, I found it contrived, unbelievable, and just plain stupid. Where to start? A cookie cutter "Beauty and the Beast" love story with too many holes. I never caught on to the burgeoning romance. Somehow it just fell flat for me. It was already a mediocre movie when they did that ridiculous black & white dance sequence, which was so far out of place, I lost all interest. The music and old film clips were great, but what were they thinking? Were they trying to cash in on some La La Land success? Or was it supposed be some allusion to Cinderella's ball? It would have made more sense as a dream sequence either where Hawkins had dozed off during a flick, or in the bathtub. Ew. Were the masturbation scenes really necessary? I can't see where they drove the plot. Are we supposed to believe a creature like that could or would run into a theatre, leaving a blood trail no less, without being seen by ANYONE? Then he just stands watching a film. (All the while knowing he was in danger from humans and he needed to get to water)? All this, and the projectionist doesn't notice? Where are the film patrons? How'd he get IN without being noticed by anyone? An unlocked door? What would be the purpose of having a box office if you're going to leave an access door unlocked? Are we supposed to believe that the creature, being so sick and weak that he must be released immediately, suddenly has superhuman strength after some strange (and inexplicable) resurrection event following his "death"? And are we supposed to believe that you could pull a full grown man via a bullet hole in his cheek? (You'd rip right through.) Are we supposed to believe that the best friend wouldn't have freaked out about the coitus? In her eyes, wasn't it more an animal. At the very least, one would expect her to broach the subject of pregnancy. How did those two remain standing in the bathroom? The force of the water would have carried them out. If it was pressing that much on the door, the window should have blown. Why didn't Richard Jenkins appear to grieve at all regarding his cat? And why? Oh WHY? Couldn't they just release him directly into the ocean immediately, rather than wait for the locks to fill. I mean the water was RIGHT THERE. They could have made a bath in the back of the van, and just got him to the coast. On and on I could go, but I'm done with my rant.

    Save your money. If you want dumbed down fantasy get the Hallmark channel. At least you know you're getting purely pleasant drivel, instead of wasting your money and being grossly disappointed.
  • malcolja1 January 2018
    Guillermo Del Toro does "Amelie" meets "Creature from the Black Lagoon"
    Warning: Spoilers
    Diabetics beware, you're in for a saccharine flavoured heap of mush.

    The Shape of Water was directed/created by Guillermo Del Toro best known for creepy and violent films such as Pan's Labyrinth and more mainstream writings such as Hellboy and The Hobbit. For some reason he has had a dose of the lovestrucks and written a film that is basically Amelie meets Creature from the Black Lagoon. There are a couple of questionable violent scenes (torturing a dying man by dragging him around via a bullet wound to the cheek had a touch of the old GDT that we know and love) but the plot literally has no surprises whatsoever. I picked the minor twist about 10 minutes in, and spent the second half of the film waiting for it to be over.

    I am sorry to say the only interesting part was the reveal (not literally) of the sea creature's penis via the main character's description which is frankly hilarious.

    Octavia Spencer does a fantastic job of playing herself (Was this woman born middle aged?) but let's face it we love her anyway. I would love her to be my best friend, she's a hoot.

    Michael Shannon (whom I remember from Take Shelter and Boardwalk Empire) plays a creepy bad guy in a way that makes me never want to have him around for Christmas lunch. Why does he always play someone sexually awkward? I pray we'll never find out.

    I was most disappointed that unlike Pan's Labyrinth and some of the other films GDT has made it's not set in a fantastical different world. It's basically the 1950s cold war era in USA with no real pretense of being anything but. I was hoping for a magical realism, but other than the creature, there's no otherworldliness to it.

    I am a solid romantic, but I found the plot so saccharine that it made me feel nauseous. There is also a sudden musical number that almost had me running for the aisle, and my sister desperate to see my husband's face (He's allergic to musicals generally). Apart from this light relief, I couldn't wait to get out of there.

    I am pretty alone in this opinion, our party was split between 3 people who loved it, and my husband and I who hated it. Maybe if I hadn't seen other GDT films I would have liked it more. My husband also thought the trailer completely misrepresented what he expected from the film. So maybe we were in the wrong movie. But I think romance lovers won't like the art house element, and art house/GDT fans won't like this film. So I think commercially it will be hard to place.
  • terry-457-81354117 March 2018
    You've got to be kidding me
    Was anxiously awaiting viewing this "Oscar Winning Film". Where do I go to get these two hours of my life back. I found myself incapable of suspending reality this far. I found the entire ordeal mind numbing.
  • mfp-654-19990028 December 2017
    2 hours of my life I will never get back.
    Warning: Spoilers
    I really don't understand the hype for this movie. I know del Toro makes some odd movies, but I did like Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage, so I went into this one without reading any reviews or knowing much about it but expecting something decent as a way to spend 2 hours of my life. Wrong! -The dialogue in this movie is just choppy and facetious. The most cringeworthy conversation to me was between Hoyt and the ugly bad dude. Fragmented threats like "I will take you out of this universe" just don't do it for me. Absolutely illogical and nonsensical script. It seems like they said every line in the movie thinking that it was deep and had an impact and was super important... but nothing was really needed for this movie. It could've been filmed without speaking at all and the stupid story still would have come across. -I just didn't feel the relationship/love between the annoyingly mousy lead lady and the fish dude. She got on my damn nerves, really. So she brought the semi-sentient creature some boiled eggs that she made while she fapped in her bathtub (awkward and unnecessary). And meanwhile the entire f*cking building is on camera, but they never see her repeatedly sneaking in his sealed off room to feed him and even play music and dance for him?!?! serious cringe-fest right there. -the black lady Zelda ran her mouth all the time but yet everyone stepped all over her, including the lead (Sally I think? I'm trying hard to forget this stupid movie). Couldn't she ever tell Zelda a simple "thank you" for all the millions of times Zelda stepped up for her, made sure she ate, translated for her, punched her time card for her, lied for her, etc? Not once did Sally show gratitude. It's like Sally is a weird, selfish person that became infatuated with a dude that looks like Thane from Mass Effect 2 (yet Thane was 1,000 times more of a fleshed out character than this "god fish") and everyone just helped the anorexic mouse lady because she "found true love." No one thought this was f*cking weird?? She meets a semi-intelligent FISH in a lab tank and bangs him and has a sick puppy love for him and everyone in the movie acted like that was completely normal. Seriously? In what world is bestiality normal? Just completely idiotic. -Soooo many unnecessary and useless scenes. Who cares about the mean dude (Michael Shannon) not liking noise and furiously banging his weird Stepford Wife missionary style while he covers her mouth and continually tells her to shut up? And when he got his new Cadillac car with the weird salesman and all the useless banter about its color being "teal" not "green?" Or the scene with Sally furiously water-fapping while she makes boiled eggs for the weird fish dude? or where M Shannon pees in front of the 2 ladies without holding his d*ck? I could go on and on forever and rip this movie to shreds, but I'm already annoyed and tired from writing all this. This movie was completely and utterly stupid, and I wish I could have my time and money back. Fail, del Toro. Big stupid fail. Ugh.
  • Movie Watcher22 December 2017
    The Sad Shape of Moviemaking
    Warning: Spoilers
    While the basic premise of this King Kong-ish plot, the lead acting (with the exception of the stereotypical and WAY overplayed villain), and the recreation of the 60's time period are all somewhat worthy (three stars worth), there are many oddly-forced and clunky scenes all of which impede the storytelling flow and represent a serious distraction: Gratuitous gore (rotting fingers, headless kitty), homosexual innuendo, masturbation, a bathroom that will hold 7 feet of water by simply closing the door and putting a towel under it, inter-species love at first sight sexual attraction and off-screen consummation, and a Saturday-Night-Live-like song and dance skit (?), among several others.

    Even with the love-conquers-all 'happy ending' and a beautifully depicted submerged in water embrace final scene,' overall it doesn't digest well.

    P.S. The shill-like adoration of just the titles alone (!) of most of the 10/10 user ratings for this film are absurdly hilarious, their effusively giddy text even more so.
  • OtherShipwrecks4 February 2018
    Self-congratulatory and Gratuitous Despite Technical Triumph
    Del Toro's gift for effective story-telling cannot be denied. However, the film plays perfectly into mainstream Hollywood sensibilities, does not have a profound artistic vision, and fails to challenge the audience in any meaningful way. It has the quintessential villain in the liberal cultural imagination today - a racist, sexist, ableist, psychopathic white man in the 60s. He lives in a bourgeois suburban neighborhood and has the quintessential white nuclear family. The fact that he is made to exhibit psychopathic behaviors is of course a way to obscure the irreducibly cultural, structural, and political conditions that the film purports to problematize. The equally cut-and-dry story is about people living at the margins of society bonding over their mutually subjugated status. The self-congratulatory moralistic undertone of this film suspends any need for serious cultural reflection. Shown to conservatives, the film is unlikely to have any converts to progressive politics. Shown to liberals, it will only confirm their pre-established identitarian convictions. Sprinkled with some gratuitous violence, it is the perfect candidate for the Oscars - a polished, glib, pandering, ostensibly radical fairy tale that ultimately does not have any enduring contribution to an already mediocre culture.
  • rioplaydrum18 December 2017
    Bloody Weird
    Warning: Spoilers
    G. Del Toro has been frequently fawned over as a 'masterful story teller'. I found nothing 'masterful' about it. I absolutely could not hook in to this film. It made no logistical sense at all. It also had a dark and cartoonish feel to it like a Bat Man film.

    The setting in which the story takes place is deeply flawed. Eliza (the dumb one), and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) work as cleaning ladies in a so-called top secret facility when there seems to be nothing top-secret about it.

    The cleaning pair wander at will throughout the facility and discover it's also 'top-secret' biological specimen with no clearance at all. Right.

    And low and behold, the biological specimen is none other than the Creature from the Black Lagoon! This time in living color and many upgrades.

    One might also notice Octavia Spencer is appearing in every other bomb out of Hollywood as a supporting actress and nothing more. Maybe in ten years they'll give her one of her own movies. Not holding my breath.

    Back to the Creature. We'll call him Creatch for short. The homely Eliza has a strict routine of hard boiling eggs while she masturbates furiously in her bathtub every morning. Eliza is fundamentally scared to death of normal men. She then brings the food to Creach, which she eventually falls in love with.

    Creach is super duper intelligent and can instantly learn English, American sign language and writing, but likes to savagely dine on the occasional domesticated cat here and there. Right.

    Creach also has super powers. He can almost instantly heal bodily wounds, as well as restore hair to a bald man. Alright, that one small bit I found pretty cool, but that's it.

    Eliza eventually decides to kidnap Creach, for his own good, so she can turn him loose into the ocean just one step ahead of Russian Agents who have infiltrated the facility for the soul purpose of killing him. Again, not a very top-secret organization.

    Shortly after that, Eliza and Creach begin having sex. That's right. An otherwise normal woman gets it on with a humanoid looking fish that looks like it dried out in the oven too long. Happens all the time I guess.

    The two subplots involving a sadistic head of security and an alcoholic neighbor who works as a graphics artist are barely even worth mentioning.

    And the ending? Beyond impossible.

    This story is strictly reserved for the over-emotional, over-romantic, and completely naïve.

    Go see it if you really want to, but you have been warned.
  • beanofdoom9 January 2018
    Wow, what a mess!
    Warning: Spoilers
    Take E.T., mash it up with the aesthetic sentiments of Amelie, throw in a dash of The Artist, top it all off with some amazingly open-minded attitudes toward bestiality and you have The shape of Water.

    Elisa Esposito is a cleaner at a government facility where top secret projects are kept. Her life is pretty hum-drum until one day she meets a creature from the deep at work and gives him an egg. She instantly falls in love with the beastie and talks her bestie Giles, an aging artist with relationship problems of his own, into helping her mount a rescue. Along the way she receives initially reluctant assistance from her workmate, Zelda, as well as the help of a kind-hearted Soviet spy named Dimitri.

    Visually, the movie is quite nice, the soundtrack was also very well chosen, but as a story the film seemed not to be able to make up its mind exactly what it wanted to be. The romance was rushed and never really felt believable, the best friend neighbor was only likeable sometimes, it seemed to want to make some sort of a social statement about male culture in the 50s, but this was only given, at best a superficial treatment; it kept toying with the idea of becoming a musical right up until it sort of did in a number that seemed as out-of-place, awkward and forced as the romance between Esposito and the creature from the deep.

    All in all I'd say that this would be one of those films to watch with friends some night for a laugh, but don't expect much more than unintended comedy, as it's otherwise an utter mess.
  • adamk-214 October 2017
    Disappointing Twaddle
    Warning: Spoilers
    This has absolutely so much going for it - beautifully filmed, with a magnificent, sweeping score and a stunning performance from Sally Hawkins - but crashes and burns in sentiment, cliché and cartoon supporting acts. It comes across, ultimately, as a cack-handed mash up of "E.T.", "Splash" and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon", as an aquatic man is captured and brought into a secret military American laboratory in the 1960s at the height of the cold war, and Sally Hawkins' mute cleaner develops a bond with it and, ultimately, falls in love.

    Sounds interesting, doesn't it? It certainly has potential, but if the sassy black friend, constantly yammering on about her feckless husband (Octavia Spencer, surely tiring of this kind of role) doesn't get you, or the inefficient gay neighbour/best friend (Richard Jenkins - not his finest two hours) or Michael Shannon's cartoonish, 2D villain, then stay tuned for the ghastly black-and-white fantasy dance number, in which Hawkins and the creature cavort on an elaborate set like Astaire and Rogers. It truly is a ghastly mis-step, jaw-droppingly stupid. The film never really recovered for me, and it lumbered to its predictable climax and ending with numbing melodramatics and sentiment.
  • CinemaClown16 March 2018
    An Above Average Creature Feature With Stellar Production Design
    A wonderful amalgamation of sumptuous production design, lush camerawork, composed direction & excellent lead performance, The Shape of Water continues Guillermo del Toro's fascination with monsters and is an unconventional story of love that's pure, perceptive & poetic.

    Set in 1960s America during the Cold War, The Shape of Water tells the story of a mute woman who works at a top secret facility as a janitor where she encounters a captured humanoid amphibian creature, with whom she forms a unique bond & later helps him escape from his captivity.

    Co-written & directed by Guillermo del Toro (best known for The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth & Crimson Peak), of all the films that I've seen from the notable filmmaker, The Shape of Water is the weakest. Nothing about it is terrible actually but there is nothing about it that's memorable either.

    It's a typical love story between atypical characters that's crafted with affection, told with tenderness & decorated with splendid set pieces. There is a warmth to their blossoming romance at first but it becomes monotonous during the second half. That dance scene in particular is absolutely cringeworthy.

    There isn't much to complain in the technical department though. The set pieces in Guillermo del Toro films are usually so finely detailed & refined that much of it is often mistaken for computer generated imagery. Brilliantly utilising the shades of green, Cinematography give its images a luminous quality & fairy tale vibe.

    Editing calmly directs its different subplots towards the same outcome but pacing is a bit on the slow side, plus there are moments that could have used a few trims. Alexandre Desplat's score resonates a tenderness of its own with its serene tracks though the songs (both original & incorporated) fail to uplift the whole narrative.

    Coming to the performances, The Shape of Water packs a reliable cast amongst whom Sally Hawkins impress the most in what's a silent rendition that's packed with sincere emotions. Doug Jones adds yet another non-human character to his collection while Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg & Michael Shannon provide good support in their given roles.

    On an overall scale, The Shape of Water is beautiful to look at and makes splendid use of the director's trademarks but it definitely isn't one of del Toro's finest films. The subplots are more interesting than the main story at hand here, but Hawkins does well to keep us invested in her character's journey to an extent. In short, The Shape of Water is an above average creature feature wrapped in a pretty package.
  • Anssi Vartiainen18 February 2018
    Bizarre adult fairy tale love story
    It's the 60s, the era of Cold War. The Americans are living their dream, while at the same time fearing the nuclear bomb and the Red Threat. Spy game is in full bloom and both of the great nations are vying for technological supremacy. In the midst of this, a most curious specimen arrives at a space research laboratory in Baltimore. A being unlike anything seen by modern science. But curiously it's the mute cleaning woman, who best seems to understand this beastman.

    Guillermo del Toro has always traveled down his own path. In fact, I'm unsure whether he even knows the main path exists at all. With The Shape of Water he returns back to the genre of adult fairy tales. Quite like his previous film, Pan's Labyrinth. And truth be told, these two films have much in common. Both feature female characters struggling between two worlds, those of myth and reality. In both the myth offers an escape both from the fears and horrors of the real world. In both it's the reality that reveals itself to be the source of true evil.

    That being said, there are differences. The setting is quite different, changing war-torn Spain for Cold War United States, though both of these locations are treated with a critical and nostalgic touch, although the films don't forget to have a smile every now and then either. And whereas Pan's Labyrinth was told through the eyes of a child protagonist, reflecting and talking about the fears and challenges of childhood, The Shape of Water has as its main character a woman. A sexually frustrated, lonely woman. And the film reflects that quite nicely. It's a risque film in many respects and I doff my hat to del Toro for having the guts to go all the way.

    It's also a beautifully acted film. Sally Hawkins is marvelous, especially having to play a mute person. Yet her soul is laid bare in front of us and we struggle alongside her through her hardships and victories. Michael Shannon as Colonel Strickland gives a great performance as well and I do feel he was slightly snubbed in not getting an Oscar nomination.

    If I was forced to choose, I would say Pan's Labyrinth is the better film. But it's a minute difference. The Shape of Water is a beautiful, thoughtful film that shows del Toro to be one of the best storytellers of our time.
  • Turfseer1 January 2018
    Liberal do-gooders save amphibian humanoid from stereotyped right-wing martinets in this vastly overrated tale set in Cold War era
    Warning: Spoilers
    The Shape of Water is noted director Guillermo del Toro's vastly overrated attempt to link mythic fantasy to the Cold War era. The problem with the film is its absurd premise: there's a secret government facility in Baltimore which houses an amphibian humanoid captured earlier in the Amazon by bad guy Colonel Richard Strickland (a cartoon, right wing martinet adventurer) played by an over the top Michael Shannon.

    Even if one accepts the premise (which I of course do not), you would think that security would be tight at the facility to ensure no unauthorized persons have access to the creature. Quite conveniently, however, the film's protagonist, the mute cleaning lady, Elisa (who communicates via sign language), is permitted to perform her cleaning duties inside the room where the newly minted "creature from the black lagoon" is imprisoned and easily ends up bonding with him (or it-which ever appellation you prefer!).

    Elisa soon hatches a plan to save the creature from the dastardly clutches of Strickland, and Strickland's sponsor, another vile right wing martinet, General Frank Hoyt. Of course the more than noble Elisa is joined by friends and confederates, all again quite conveniently joined at the hip by distinct, commonly held LIBERAL convictions.

    These associates include Elisa's best friend Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer in the familiar role as African-American "help" (will she ever be cast as the "bad guy" in any future films?), Giles, Elisa's neighbor, an artist and closeted gay, and a sympathetic scientist Dr. Robert Hoffstetler, who is actually a Soviet spy (note that Hoffstetler's superiors, are very much Strickland's counterparts, as they also evince a most unpleasant demeanor).

    Elisa somehow ends up ferreting the creature out of the facility after she learns of Strickland's deadline to vivisect it, allegedly for scientific purposes. Back at her apartment, she keeps the creature alive in a tub filled with salt water. Once the river is at full tide, the plan is to remove the creature from the apartment and bring it to safety, in the watery refuge.

    Meanwhile, the creature's dark side becomes slightly manifest when it attempts to take a bite out of a house cat (animal lovers do not despair: the creature is unsuccessful in significantly injuring the little kitty!). Giles is more than happy after it becomes apparent the creature has healing powers, touching Giles on his bald pate, and inducing some hair growth. And Elisa experiences pure bliss after discovering that the creature's genitalia is actually hidden and with a little coaxing, can actually engage in sexual intercourse (the act actually takes place in Elisa's bathroom, now completely flooded to the ceiling).

    Strickland, about to be fired by General Hoyt following the creature's disappearance, remains frustrated by not being able to find the lost amphibian (you would have thought that maybe he could have figured it out earlier that Elisa was the number one suspect).

    Strickland finally finds out from Zelda's terrified husband after unmercifully browbeating him, that Elisa is indeed the culprit who has sprung the creature from Strickland's deadly lair.

    No need to describe the rest of the plot in detail. Suffice it to say, there is a confrontation with Strickland who shoots both our heroes, only to meet his own demise at the hands of the creature, who miraculously recovers from Strickland's bullet to the gut.

    Elisa also revives (despite her wounds) and joins the creature in a blissful embrace underwater. How is this accomplished? Well, it seems Del Toro has kept his clues about Elisa's true nature from us all along. She's also some kind of long lost creature, and the wounds on the side of her neck, are actually gills-so she experiences some kind of re-awakening, again most conveniently while embracing her new found "king."

    I actually have a friend who sees the denouement as some kind of Gnostic allegory. Of course anyone can read into this narrative, anything they want. But the fantasy element certainly seems way out of place with this Cold War tale which also has problems of its own, with its rather cheap triumph of liberal do-goodism over stereotypical right-wing demagoguery.
  • T-Dawg21011 March 2018
    Great Film that emphasizes the importance of communication and fear of 'others.'
    The Shape of Water-A Wonderful Adult Fairy Tale Movie about Communication

    Ever since visiting the lakes, going fishing, and watching the Disney movie Atlantis, I've always had an obsession with the underwater world and believed that other human-like creatures were lurking beneath the oceans. So, before watching Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water (2017), I was initially excited for this film, and after watching it, I was genuinely impressed with the cinematography, visuals, and theme. The Shape of Water (2017) stylishly tells the story of a classic monster-adult fairy tale and fuses with old Hollywood musical, making it a fascinating experience. Furthermore, with exceptional cinematography and visuals, this film has a great message about the importance of communication and shows it through the excellent development of the characters and narrative.

    The movie shows us Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who is a mute woman that works as a nighttime janitor in a research facility center. She doesn't have many friends, except her African-American co-worker friend Zelda Fuller (Octavia Spencer) who spends most of the time talking, and her close neighbor, who is a closeted gay man called Giles (Richard Jenkins). One day, as Elisa is working, the facility center brings an amphibious creature that lives underwater. Intrigued by the creature, Elisa secretly tries to get closer to him by bringing eggs, playing musicals, and teaching him to sign language. Eventually, these two get closer, but Elisa's superior Strickland wants to dissect the creature for study purposes and to avoid the Russians to get more information as well.

    In Del Toro's movies, many of his films have great visuals, and with The Shape of Water (2017), the director carefully uses colors to evoke the character's state of mind. The turquoise and teal colored background were used through the entire period to evoke the sense of bleakness and loneliness. All the characters, despite generally having a happy life have some sort of emptiness in their lives and Del Toro wanted to show it through the screen vividly. And so, when the use of color red appears, it is used in controlled situations to show passion and delight in Elisa, making it easier to establish the overall mood.

    As for the performance, all the characters including the supporting roles had great depth. The most astonishing feature of the film's vision was that the story was delivered from a voiceless woman, a gay artist, and a black woman, all sharing some problems regarding communication. In particular, Sally Hawkins undoubtedly outshines the rest of the characters as she only uses her body to communicate with others, making it both humorous, powerful, and truly magical. Additionally, Spencer and Jenkins elevate the arc of the story while Shannon as Strickland is genuinely a horrific villain.

    Because the creature is an outsider, naturally, Elisa, Zelda, and Giles who are also social pariahs see the amphibious creature as something magnificent while Strickland sees him as "ugly as sin." These direct contrasts show how the importance of communication is demonstrated through the character's situations. Questions such as what happens when we are taken away the ability to communicate with others or who gets to decide who talks are all emphasized throughout the film. In a way, because the characters are social minorities, their voices are all suppressed. Elisa cannot verbally communicate, so she gets help from her close friends Zelda and Giles, making her feel marginalized and incomplete. On the other hand, Strickland's position in society allows him to abuse his powers and use communication only to take advantage of his subordinates.

    Just as the title suggests, the element of water is flexible and adaptable, which illustrates that love can have many different shapes and form. Even though Elisa might not be able to communicate verbally, she still can interact with the creature through sign language and does not have to be judged for who she is. In a way, as she bonds with the being, it is shown that sex can also be a form of communication, one that Elisa eventually does to deepen the relationship with her love. Despite the absence of speech, Elisa uses other methods-especially in the water- to connect and communicate with the creature, making her self-expression fill the void that was empty in her life with someone who will love her just for the way she is.

    All in all, Del Toro and his cast and crew delivers a compelling film by showcasing unique and imaginative elements of the characters and story. It is no doubt that The Shape of Water (2017) is one of Del Toro's best works. By sticking with the theme of communication, this movie has a relevant message in modern society, and just like water, one can decide what kind of meaning love wants to be.
  • damian-fuller24 December 2017
    Real love under unreal circumstances.
    To communicate or not to communicate. Sometimes is just out of fear that we don't come close to the ones who can give us exactly what we need. They're different, let's stay away. Sally Hawkins in a magical but beautifully real performance invites us to try, to dare. Guillermo del Toro takes us through the paces with extraordinary delicacy and clarity of vision. Thank you.
  • fatref35025 December 2017
    Hands Labyrinth
    Warning: Spoilers
    Okay, first, the good stuff:

    The sets (which deserve an Oscar) and the cinematography were eye-poppingly-amazing. Desplat's score was moving and beautiful. Richard Jenkins stole every scene he was in - as always.

    Now, the bad stuff:

    Sally Hawkins masturbating in the bath every single morning while the eggs are boiling (hence the title of this review) added nothing to the story. Michael Shannon buying a new car added nothing to the story. The Astaire-Rogers, song-n-dance, black-n-white dream sequence completely ruined any magic that had been established. Look, I know this is a fantasy, but, fish sex, really? Not only that, she went to work and played kiss-n-tell, describing the fish dick to Octavia Spencer (who, sadly, has become typecast.) The writing was just weak. Every character was a cliched, cardboard cutout. The love story read like a bad Harlequin Romance paperback meets The Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Splash meets Mr. Limpet.

    Overall, I would say, if you are a serious filmophile, see this for the eye candy. That's all there really is to this fantasy. If you are a lonely, looking-for-Mr. Right, 40-something dreamer, this could possibly be your favorite movie of all time.
  • Achyuta Ghosh4 March 2018
    a magical romance
    Warning: Spoilers
    The Shape of Water is grounded in magical realism, a genre which combines elements of magic in an extremely realistic environment, but in essence is a twisted monster-fairy tale. Most monster stories have featured infatuations with things of beauty, only to end sadly with the monster protagonists, ala King Kong. The Shape of Water though is progressive-it follows through to a happy ending for both it's monster/god central character and it's human lover. And unlike the human converting the monster into another human (Beauty and the Beast) , it has the monster converting the human to, well, it's type.

    The story is set at the height of the Cold War, 1962, where everything that every American used to do was looked through the filter of being pro-communism. Elisa Esposito, played to Academy award nominated perfection by Sally Hawkins, is a mute cleaning lady working at a top secret research institute in Baltimore. An amphibious creature (called The Asset), and played emotively by Doug Jones, is brought from the Amazon to the lab by Strickland, played in perverse style by Michael Shannon.

    "The natives in the Amazon worshipped it. Like a god. We need to take it apart, learn how it works"

    Merman or god, he is not in for a good time at the research institute, and typical of del Toro movies, humans are more monstrous than conventional monsters. Elisa's lack of speech helps form a bond with the Asset. Speaking of whom, he is curiously similar to del Toro's other amphibious character from Hellboy- Abe Sapien. Love for eggs, and classical music is all there. Understanding the finality of the creature's fate, Elisa, with her friends, hatches a plan to take it away from the institute.

    "When he looks at me, the way he looks at me... He does not know, what I lack... Or - how - I am incomplete. He sees me, for what I - am, as I am. He's happy - to see me. Every time. Every day. Now, I can either save him... or let him die."

    Soon the bond translates to love, but the creature is dying, and needs open water to survive. After that the plot focuses on racing against the Communists and Strickland to set it free in the sea. The ending is deliciously open ended too- does Elisa survive in the end or that is what the narrator wants us to think? Was she a mermaid in human guise? Does the story have a happy ending, however improbable it may be?

    Guillermo del Toro is at his best in The Shape of Water. His love for monsters shows in his body of work (Hellboy, Pacific Rim, Pan's Labyrinth, Crimson Peak), and The Shape of Water is no different here. Del Toro creates a fascinating world, full of relatable characters, and drily so, takes digs at today's environment. The central human character is probably a Mexican, the villain is a gun-loving white man, and if a love story between an animal and human isn't awkward enough, there is an old man in the movie who is secretly gay! What would Trump say about that last bit?

    If the first ace for The Shape of Water was the characters, the next ace is the script. It is delightfully funny, even for those who do not talk and communicate only through expressions and signs. The third ace though is the real deal- he manages to extract superb performances from all the actors. Be it Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, or Michael Shannon.

    Nominated for 13 Oscars, with 93 wins and 263 other nominations- is the hype real and is The Shape of Water the best film of 2017? Might not be, but seriously, who could have thought that something so unconventional could be so romantic? Here is raising a glass to Elisa Esposito's groundbreaking romance!
  • ecastrodesign11 November 2017
    Guillermo Del Toro's Best Film So Far !
    Guillermo Del Toro's newest film "The Shape of Water" took my breath away. Easily this is Del Toro's finest film since "Pan's Labyrinth" and may even be his best in general. This is a film where Del Toro weaves magic throughout with a story he created which is simple, yet layered with such interesting facets embedded in each character, set, and prop as he allows the audience to discover this intimate and fascinating world of "broken" people searching for a moment of meaning. Captivating from its opening scenes with haunting visual imagery, and a lyrical score by Alexandre Desplat, one is immediately enthralled by this fairy tale that is not your usual saccharine variety that Disney cranks out.

    Del Toro knows how to tell a story with wit, style and heart. Assembling a cast headed by the incandescent Sally Hawkins in the role of Eliza who is mute throughout the film, but exudes such humanity and strength along with the villainous Michael Shannon who provides a great balance. Every single actor sparkles because every character has been developed with great care. Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer shine in their roles bringing a touch of quirkiness and humor to this sometimes dark story.

    The film is achingly nostalgic with glorious production design by Paul D. Austerberry evoking the Baltimore of 1962 full of fascinating textures of faded glory, especially in the magnificent design of Eliza's apartment and hallways. Exquisite camera work by Dan Laustsen and beautifully designed costumes by Luis Sequiera contribute greatly to complete Guillermo Del Toro's vision.

    This film is really the ultimate version of "Beauty and The Beast" with a touch of "ET", capped off with a very emotional investment, that pays off for the audience in its poetic and lyrical final scene.

    Certainly one of the finest films of 2017.
  • bastille-852-7315475 December 2017
    A Delightful Fairy Tale From Del Toro
    Guillermo del Toro is back with this visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining adult fairy tale. While this movie does not quite live up to some of his previous films (i.e. "Pan's Labyrinth,") it is still a great film in its own right. When one begins to watch the film, the first thing that the viewer will notice is the luscious and stunning visuals. These aesthetic qualities are all the more superb and stunning when one takes a moment to realize that they were done with practical effects rather than CGI. As usual, the visionary style del Toro takes to envision his creature and sets is incredibly impressive. Alexandre Desplat's score, with its simplistic, unpretentious and almost low-key charm, is also thoroughly riveting.

    The plot, which centers on a janitor's relationship with a creature kept in a research lab during the Cold War era in Baltimore, is entertaining throughout. The film is paced well, and never drags or feels tedious. The acting on display in the film is good as well, with a solid performance from Sally Hawkins in the lead role, a show-stealing supporting performance by Octavia Spencer, and a darkly powerful turn by Michael Shannon as a supervisor who serves as the film's sadistic villain. It is also important to note how the film is enhanced by its use of classic filmmaking tropes, which are managed well as to feel original rather than clichéd or too old-fashioned. They give the film a unique layer of depth to it that helps work hand-in-hand with its stylish aesthetic and unique mix of charm and darker themes. The only criticism I have of this film is the fact that there is a lack of individualization or characterization of film's supporting characters; these characters seem solely memorable based on a single personality trait. Otherwise, this is a skillfully made fantasy film and one that I would recommend very much. 8.5/10
  • Harvey Penson13 October 2017
    Del Toro's new moving, thrilling romantic fantasy
    If I was to tell you about Guillermo Del Toro's new film what would I say.

    As the father of dark fantasy, Guillermo Del Toro knows how to bring alive the illusive wonderlands and nightmares we can relish and transform them into wonderful poignant crafts of insight and meaning, and The Shape of Water is no exception. With its journey from Venice to Toronto, The Shape of Water has now hit the London Film Festival, now within reach of this exuberant critic. I had only the budget to see one film at this year's festival and I most certainly made a wise decision.

    During the Cold War conflict of the 60s, a mute but hearing Eliza (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaner at a secret government facility, where she becomes drawn to the new specimen: a mysterious marine creature (Doug Jones). While Eliza begins to fall in love with it, the facility head Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), only desires to take the creature apart for experimental advantage against the Russians. Eliza's bond with the creature soon begins to effect those around her: her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), work college Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and scientist Robert Hoffsteder (Michael Stuhbarg) What is amazing profound about Del Toro's latest work is its eccentric visualisation in reflection of the political and social conceptions of the past , but also today. The most centralised end is the the treatment of those who are different. Directly dealing with the fantasy of other species but intertwined with racial treatment relevant to the time in which the film is set, and then of course against the back drop of the national conflicts, but then also the value of those with deficiencies, as portrayed by Sally Hawkins.

    More distant from his darker tones in, Pan's Labyrinth, and Crimson Peak, but not far from the surreal fantasy, The Shape of Water becomes more grounded than previous Del Toro films, and diversely more lighter and funnier. With frequent laughs and jokes on screen, the romantic fantasy is a much light hearted watch, of course not without its moment of bloody violence but at a lower volume. What may be hard for some audiences to get their head around, is this idea of an inter-species relations and with the astonishing design of the creature itself becomes something more than just a fish costume. The bond and sexuality of this romance is a significant thread to the film and is one that featured heavily with its repetitive moments of adult content. But what Del Toro explores its is real beauty in love and within the context of the film it does becomes something remarkable.

    Sally Hawkins is exceptional in her vigorous performance as the mute Eliza, with dynamic sign language and spirited facial expressions, we see the isolated heart of the "princess without voice" which makes her connection to this solitary creature all the more real. Opposite her is the confident physical actor Doug Jones, manning the rubber suit of the creature in a brilliant bodily performance, outdoing his previous collaborative performances with Del Toro. Then Michael Shannon sensationally brings the real monster to the tale in Strickland, the dominating Colonel facing his battle in masculinity as well as with the creature. Shannon gives one of the best performances of his career, keeping with that classic fairy tale juxtaposition of man being the real monster.

    As with all Del Toro's dark fantasies, it all becomes about the characters. Eliza reaching out to another like herself. Strickland trying to maintain his power and masculinity in his skirmish with the creature and Eliza. Hoffsetider being caught between to sides but seeking his own right, and Giles trying to find his significance back in society.

    As never fails with a Del Toro films is the signature production design that brings to life these magnificent worlds. The Shape of Water although is not full Del Tory fairy tale land, does have a very extraordinary construct of the real world, from Eliza's apartment to the secret facility, echoing the true Gothic universe of the real world. Opening in a momentous title sequence, Del Toro literally floods the screen in ravishing visual effects and segments. Only more so combined with the inescapable talents of cinematographer: Dan Laustsen, swiftly moving from one room to the next in a mythical immersive experience alluring us furthermore into the depths of the story and art work of the film.

    The Shape of Water is a wonderfully weird, quirky, heart-warming, extraordinary piece of cinema. For fans who have found Del Toro's previous works too dark or scary, will be delighted by this much more charming fantasy.
  • DylanHoff8828 February 2018
    Strange and endlessly magical
    Love is something that can take many forms, it's a force as strong and as malleable as water itself. An idea expressed eloquently through Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water. The film tells a story of this very strange and mystical romance between a mute woman and an amphibian creature, a romance you don't see very often to say the least.

    One of things I love about Guillermo Del Toro is how he's able to seamlessly immerse you into the world's he creates. The way he was able to capture this 1960's time period while simultaneously putting his own unique and artistic touch on it through the film's amazing production design made me feel completely transported into the film's world. The almost fairy tale and dream like cinematography blended with the amazing soundtrack from Alexandre Desplat really made watching this film an extremely magical experience. Everything from the world and details about the characters are all presented in such a clever and meaningful way. The performances are all stellar throughout the film, particularly Sally Hawkins. The way she was able to convey a broad range of emotions through facial expressions and body language was so mesmerizing to watch, just from her eyes you knew exactly what she was feeling and at no point did I ever feel like she was faking her sign language, it all felt so real and genuine. Octavia Spencer was did a really good job as usual and was an absolute joy to watch, you could really feel the companionship and trust between hers and Sally Hawkins's character on screen. Michael Shannon did a really great job, I'm pretty sure he's mastered the douche-bag role at this point. I really loved the great purpose behind the choice of having Sally Hawkins play a mute character, it's a very easy to see this as way of showing a impressive performance but it was actually a very purposeful choice in the way that it bonds the connection of this unique relationship. If could've been very easy to have both characters talk but it would've have been nearly as compelling or interesting for this story in particular.

    Despite all this I don't think the film is perfect. I did feel like the first 30-40 minutes of the film was a little rushed. I wish the film would've spent a little more time in the facility developing there relationship more, instead it was almost as if the film felt that it needed get things going as fast as possible as opposed to taking it's time with the story. The story is pretty predictable and although I really liked the ending I did see it coming. There a lot of moments in the film that are pretty cheesy, particularly some moments from Michael Shannon's character and the General character. But these criticisms weren't enough to break the experience for me as they always had clever film-making behind them. This is both a strange and endearing love story that could only be told through the eyes of Del Toro and if you like the look of this film I would recommend it. It's not as good as Pan's Labyrinth but it's easily his best film since.
  • adamorestes14 October 2017
    Tolerance for All Colors, Creeds, Species and Moviegoers Alike
    Every now and then a work of cinema arrives in theaters that completely challenges one's conception of what a film can be. A groundbreaking technical and thematic masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro accomplishes something that on paper seems impossible; what is essentially a comedic Cold War body horror musical romance between a mute woman and a mermaid. Not only does the modern master of movie monsters blend such an eclectic variety of genres into a single storyline, but he also does so without any sense of convolution or confusion, exhibiting a technical mastery that allows the film to seamlessly flow between its fantastical elements and social realism as well as stand as a work of art on its own. What Del Toro's latest film offers is not merely a stylistic spectacle, but also a thoughtful meditation on the nature of love and its ultimate lack of boundaries.

    Before directing my appraisals towards the film's exceptional ensemble performances, thematic resonance and technical ingenuity, I feel it necessary to discuss what's on the surface. The film's production design is, simply put, outstanding. Set within the cultural bubble of early 1960s Baltimore, you can tell del Toro feels a genuine love for the aesthetic of the era, between the beauty of the grandiose operatic cinema to the humorously polite manner in which the characters converse with one another. This is contrasted by the grim color palette of the facility that Eliza (Sally Hawkins) and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) work in, a white male-dominated hierarchy in which minorities are abused like slaves. Even outside of the facility, del Toro never shies away from the darkness behind this maintained superficial beauty. Racism, sexism and homophobia are ever present as shop owners reject minorities to preserve their all-white family aesthetic and Col. Strickland (Michael Shannon) exerts his dominance over the wife of his nuclear family in a truly sickening way. However, unlike most period pieces, there is no protest or fight for change. The superficial world remains solid through every horrible injustice committed, for these characters live in the 60s, where there is an understanding (or at least a belief) that things won't change. The characters accept these injustices for it's all they can do, strengthening and almost excusing the central interspecies love story so that it resonates all the more deeply.

    From a technical perspective, the film truly mimics the element of its title. It's camera-work floats towards and around its characters while its transitions flow into one another like water. Del Toro maintains such a rhythmic pace via his use of editing, usually cutting on sound to craft a film that is as auditory as it is visual. The film's ensemble of is just as stunning. Against the backdrop of the 1960s del Toro's protagonists consist of different social outcasts, placing the authoritative white male in the role of an antagonist who takes full advantage of his societal superiority complex. Octavia Spencer as Zelda (Eliza's black co-worker) and Richard Jenkins as Giles (Eliza's gay neighbor) provide much of the film's comedic relief through their simultaneous embodiment and subversion of the era's stereotypes. While one could argue that their roles of the closeted gay confidante and the black maid are cliché, both characters display a strong awareness for their prejudiced status, with both resolving to disobey the conventions society has imposed on them; a decision that sets them apart from most portrayals of 1960s minorities. Michael Shannon offers another compelling performance as an abusive sociopath, and some of his actions (such as the aforementioned scene with his wife) impressively disgust in a world in which audiences are so desensitized to violence and on-screen abuse.

    Supporting characters aside, the standout of this film is without question Sally Hawkins, whose performance as a mute woman forces upon her the unique challenge of making an audience empathize with her in spite of a lack of speech. She does this through her playfulness; her love of art, particularly music and musicals, the way she tap dances her way to work when no one is watching, and palpable emotions that require no voice to express. Her sign language offers one of the film's most spectacular visuals, and del Toro knows this, choosing to place the subtitles as close to her hands as possible so as not to detract too much attention.

    Though more attention could have been diverted to Doug Jones as the Asset, and the creature's general quirky mannerisms, it is the scenes that he shares with Eliza that are the film's most tender. Throughout Eliza's interactions with her two friends (Zelda and Giles), while it's established that the two characters care about her deeply, we get the sense that her muteness is being taken advantage of, as both endlessly vent their personal struggles and anxieties to her with no one to cut them off. Such is the reason for Eliza's infatuation with the Asset, itself a speechless creature that doesn't see Eliza as incomplete in the slightest. When the two finally bring their relationship to the next level, like the supporting cast, we the audience have no problem accepting it. Both employ wildly different means of communication; Eliza's an organized series of gestures whereas the Asset's are primal and animalistic. However, when the two finally bring their relationship to the next level, like the supporting cast, we the audience have no problem accepting it.

    The Shape of Water is hardly a fantasy. Ultimately, it's a film about tolerance. An allegory for all of history's outcasts that attempts to shine a light on the conditions from which real monsters are born. Like it's moral message of acceptance, del Toro extends this inclusion to his audience, accepting fans of all genres, offering something truly enjoyable for every kind of moviegoer. The Shape of Water is an extremely confident mesh of comedy, romance, horror, drama and musicals, with enough technical wizardry to impress any cinephile.
  • TheBigSick26 December 2017
    A visually stunning thriller
    I'm a fan of thriller movies, and among all the thrillers I've ever seen, "The Shape of Water" is definitely one of the best in terms of visuals. The cinematography, production design, visual effects, and music score are all top-notch, making the viewing experience rather pleasant. It is surely a strong contender in the technical categories of the coming Oscars.

    The acting performances are also noteworthy. Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg all give unforgettable and natural acting. Michael Shannon proves again why he is one of the best actors in his generation by perfectly playing the villain.

    The storytelling and character development, on the other hand, are not that satisfying. Overall speaking, the pace is fine and taut. But the third act is overlong, and some interactions between "the thing" and humans (after people rescue "the thing" from the lab) are completely unnecessary. The director may try to make the audiences emotionally resonant, but fails in the end. The love between Elisa and "the thing" looks especially strange: no human wants to make love with a monster. The character development is largely disappointing in the sense that almost every character is flat and one-dimensional.

    All in all, I would give the film a 75/100 rating.
  • Morten_511 November 2017
    Wonderful, beautiful, funny
    28th STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. DAY 1, NOV 8th 2017. Nordic premiere of "The Shape of Water" (2017).

    ‪Balancing humour and drama impressively, the film contains some fine screen writing and an awe-inspiring performance by great Sally Hawkins.‬

    ‪When writer-director Guillermo del Toro returns with his tenth feature, he delivers another amazing fantasy-drama filled with that deep love for movie-making and the oddities of life that very few other Hollywood directors can match. This is beauty in frames.‬
  • karla_partygirl2214 March 2018
    Cinematography at it's finest
    Beautiful made - compelling love story - everything you want to see in theaters and more!
  • alanpgini22 February 2018
    A too predictable heart tugger
    Guillermo del Toro is known for the weird and his style. But this thing, if you want to call it a movie, barely rates a 6 for me.The acting is excellent, and has good production values, but that's pretty much it. The story is too predictable. The black lagoon creature is sympathetic, but barely so. The love story is hard to accept on suspension of disbelief, as well as the idea that the portrayal of government ineptness on this scale. And anyone who couldn't predict the outcome would have to be seriously stupid. Its as if del Toro decided he wanted to do a darker version of the Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah "Splash" movie from 30 plus years ago. It's watchable but fair at best. And thats the best that can be said for it.
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