I do believe this is the final of the movies released in limited release for Oscar consideration, and it is the best one as well.
I loved The Shape of Water, finally getting to see it. It would have found its way into the top 5 of 2017 had I been able to see it before.
Guillermo del Toro brings his style to this beautiful story into something magical and legendary. In the secret facility, mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaning woman but something unbelievable happens. Government agent Richard Strickland (Michael Strickland) has brought something to the facility, some kind of Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) monster to be studied and researched.
Elisa found herself drawn to the Amphibian Man and she sneaks him eggs and plays him music. Meanwhile, Strickland is getting anxious for answers and information and begins pushing for dissection. That forces Elisa, along with a doctor at the facility (Michael Stuhlbarg), to try something desperate.
The Shape of Water is magic and you can feel the magic. There have been few films that have this kind of tone/feel. It is almost palpable.
Performances are top notch. Not only from Sally Hawkins, who is remarkable, and Michael Shannon, who is scary intense, but also from Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, who play secondary characters. I would even go as far as to say that I loved the original and quirky Richard Jenkins as Giles, Elisa’s friend.
The design of the Amphibian Man is amazing and has so many little idiosyncrasies that you would probably notice different ones each time you see it. Doug Jones does a great job as the monster, showing as much emotion as he could without the ability to speak.
This is, of course, a key connection between the two of them since neither of them can use words to speak. The love story is the single most important aspect and it really does work. I did not think it would, but it was wonderful.
The music of the film is as important as the cinematography and the acting. The music plays a huge role in the connections between characters and the imagery of the film. I will say, I am not convince that the “dance” song near the end worked or fit very well. That might be my only criticism of the film.
The Shape of Water was well worth the wait. This was an amazing and magical time at the movies. It made you feel as if this was an old time story with the beautiful expertise of today’s world. I loved it.