There is so much to love—and hate—about “The Shape of Water” but there is one thing everyone has to agree upon and that is the illuminating performance by Sally Hawkins. I have seen her in some movies but never remembered her, or was that impressed by her, until earlier this year when I saw “Maudie” and flipped over her performance which she outdoes in this movie.
A lot goes on in this movie, which starts off slowly, but never feels rushed or ‘off’ including the love story. People who are looking for fantasy will find it and believe the make-believe is real while those looking for a villain will not find anyone more ‘hissable’ than Michael Shannon nor some violent scenes while not lasting long will be remembered long after. There are Russian spies like Michael Stuhlbarg playing a scientist with secrets of his own, a gay friend/neighbor Richard Jenkins who has a refrigerator filled with slices of pies that he buys from the counter server, Morgan Kelly, who he has a crush on. There is the 5-star general who take no for an answer and there is Octavia Spencer who everyone should have as a friend.
There is frontal and rear nudity by both men and women along with, literally, finger crunching scenes, cattle prod hits and then there is the “Asset”, the sea creature which the story revolves around affecting everyone in the movie. He is played by Doug Jones and, considering that he and Sally Hawkins have a believable love story with neither being able to speak, is one of the best love stories in movies in a long time. You know he is a ‘creature from the Black Lagoon’ but you forget that and root for him and Elisa (Hawkins) to have a happy ending.
I am not a fan of director Guillermo del Toro’s previous movies but he does a beautiful job of directing here along with writing the screenplay, with Vanessa Taylor and producing, with J. Miles Dale, a first-rate production in every aspect of the movie.
For old car lovers there is the first teal colored Cadillac, for old movie fans there is Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda and a salute to Fred and Ginger and for the music lovers some big band and jazz music along with “You’ll Never Know How Much I Love”.
Along with touching upon many movie genres, the casting couldn’t have been better and I would be hard pressed as to whether Sally Hawkins should get an Oscar nomination for this or “Maudie” since according to the rules actresses aren’t allowed to be nominated for 2 different pictures.
“The Shape of Water” is not an easy film to get into and at times to watch but it is definitely a film to see.