This is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen!
Starring Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg and David Hewlett, ‘The Shape of Water’ is the newest movie (or on-screen fairytale) to come from cinematic genius Guillermo del Toro.
Set in 1962 Baltimore, ‘The Shape of Water’ follows Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute and isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady at a high-security government laboratory. There she forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature (Doug Jones) that is being held in captivity.
Now, I have been a fan of Guillermo del Toro since I saw ‘Hellboy’ around thirteen years ago (yikes I’m getting old). But it was his haunting masterpiece, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ that really made me adore his work. He knows how to tell a story on a visual level while also having an amazing script (well apart from a couple of his previous movies). Leading up to the release of ‘The Shape of Water’, I avoided all trailers and only knew the basic plot. I am so happy that I did that as going into this movie with little to no knowledge of what was going to happen made this one of the best movie experiences of the decade for me.
To start off, I have to talk about the man at the centre of this. Guillermo del Toro has created what is easily one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. From the beautiful opening credit sequence to the final shot, this is one of the best-directed movies of the year. Every scene feels perfect and none seem out-of-place. It’s a gorgeous fairytale for adults and it’s pure magic.
Speaking of magic, Sally Hawkins is mesmerizing in what may be my favourite performance by an actress since early last year. Her portrayal as a lonely, mute woman is one of the most original performances in quite some time. It’s hard enough to give a good performance as a speaking character but to give an amazing performance without saying a word is unreal. It’s a very emotional performance and she’s unbelievable.
Richard Jenkins is as great as always. He plays Elisa’s neighbour and he makes you wish that he was your neighbour as well. He’s easily the most caring character in the movie and he does a fantastic job in the supporting role.
Michael Shannon is terrifying as Strickland. Michael Shannon has proved to be one of the best actors of this era over the past few years and here he is at his best. He’s a damn good villain and he’s one of the most intriguing characters in the movie.
Octavia Spencer is also great as Elisa’s friend and fellow cleaning lady. She’s a likeable character and a great comic relief. Michael Stuhlbarg is as great as he always is. I swear that everything he’s in is always great. Finally, there is Doug Jones who also gives a fantastic performance as the creature at the centre of the movie. The make-up for him is also fantastic and it adds to his performance even more.
Another huge positive I have is the mesmerizing score. Composer Alexandre Desplat has composed one of the most elegant and fantastical movie scores this decade. It helps with the almost fairytale-like tone of the movie and I love how it sounds like it came from a French movie. It’s a music lovers dream come true.
The writing is also fantastic. It manages to mix in different genres which works well overall. It takes cues from other fantasy movies and adds it’s own twist on them to make this an original movie. It also kept me intrigued for the entire two-hour runtime, which is really hard to do in an era of predictable and boring movies.
I have no negatives with ‘The Shape of Water’ as it’s literally a perfect movie.
Overall, ‘The Shape of Water’ is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It tells an elegant love story set in an intriguing era. It’s enhanced by the mesmerizing visuals and fantastic performances which only heighten the perfection of this fairytale for adults. It’s like a beautiful piece of art that you can’t look away from and it’s worth every minute of your time. You can actually tell that this is a perfect movie from the opening shot, I’m not even kidding.