One of the films we were desperate to see was The Shape of Water, the new film from director Guillermo Del Toro, one of our favourite directors.
The film was released in America last year so it has felt like ages that we have waited to see this film, and the fact that in that wait, the film has now been nominated for 13 Oscars, well we hoped for something special.
The story plays like what would happen if Amelie met E.T. if that famous movie extraterrestrial was The Creature from the Black Lagoon in this film set in the 1960s during the cold war.
We first meet Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who is a mute, she has a repetitive life which evolves around the time she spends at work as a janitor, which she does with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) at a top secret government laboratory, with the evenings being spent with her only other friend, Giles (Richard Jenkins) an illustrator of adverts, watching old movies.
One day at the lab she works, the government officials receive The Asset, which we soon learn is an amphibian creature (played by Doug Jones)
Elisa finds that the creature is being tortured by Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) to help America get ahead in the space race against Russia. When they can find no information, the order is made to kill the creature and dissect it for further research.
Elisa and the Creature have learned however to communicate, in part due to Elisa having the ability to use sign language, and it is clear their friendship is something special, as they are both alone, and it is here that the film becomes a romantic tale as well as the fantasy adventure we have come to expect from Del Toro.
When Elisa learns then that the creature is to be killed, she must plan a daring break out with the creature, where she plans to release him into the canals, when the heavy rain is due in October.
With the help of another scientist, Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) who also would rather the creature stay alive, and her good friend Giles and reluctantly Zelda, she will protect the asset by keeping her in her bathtub until the time is safe to release him.
Will Strickland stop them and kill the creature? Will it have a happy ending for Elisa and the Creature. Can they really live happily ever after, despite such differences? Well we can highly recommend you see this film to find out.
This really is a great film, deservedly receiving many award nominations and it never out stays its welcome, unlike Crimson Peak, the director’s last film which we felt could have been so much better if shorter. The main performances are all brilliant; Hawkins, Jones, and Jenkins are excellent characters that you care about and Shannon is the bad guy you really want to hate.
The film also deals with attitudes not widely accepted at the time, Giles has a particularly nasty encounter when he builds up the courage to ask the man at the local cake shop he has feelings for, and within the same sequence rage is put upon a couple of colour when they dare to try eat in the empty shop.
The film also has some nasty moments, one involving a cat and has a lot of violence, especially from Strickland’s cattle prod but it also has some wonderful moments, a song and dance number and possibly one of the most talked about scenes in which Elisa and the creature turn a room into a pool and take their romance to the next level ; )
Obviously how you view this film, will be how you can relate to a woman falling in love with a sea creature but we really enjoyed it, confirming our love of this directors work. This certainly is a fairytale we want to revisit upon its DVD release.
You can pre-order the film here:
Watch the trailer here:
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