The Shape of Water – Film Review

Guillermo Del Toro is a prolific filmmaker and it shows in this picture that he has perfected his craft. One thing that he has done with this film is that he has learned to make a pleasant film that doesn’t offend anyone or treat its characters as terrible people that you should never root for, and has mass appeal. He has had a past as a filmmaker where his films would only appeal to a smaller audience and this film can appeal to any adult. Though there are things like cursing and nudity it isn’t done in an objectifying matter – its all tasteful.

The cast is a strong highlight for the film. It is very well balanced between Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon and Doug Jones. This film was excellently cast and Sally Hawkins specifically shines with her being a mute and being a lead. Her emotions are so clear cut even without any dialogue. She is definitely one to watch out for when it comes to a lead actress in awards categories. I thought Octavia was a great pairing with her to play off of. She has good comedic timing in this picture.

Elisa, honey… He’s comin’ for you. You gotta go now and you gotta take that thing with you.

For this film which has a reported 19 million dollar budget they definitely used it effectively. The production design is beautifully done and the special effects and makeup are top notch. Doug Jones, especially, who works with Guillermo often in his films — has a great creature design and doesn’t have any dialogue like Hawkins does. Though Doug Jones is the lead actor in this film — I felt that Michael Shannon had a larger role as the villain of the film.

My only qualms with the film is that there wasn’t much that couldn’t be predicted, but it did still find the film completely entertaining. Some moments when I was watching this picture in the theater I felt as though I was watching an old Hollywood classic — one scene in particular that I won’t spoil — but it delighted me. It could have taken some darker turns or chances that would have made it something a lot of audience members wouldn’t have liked but I enjoyed that he decided to find a way to make a film that not only appeased his vision but also a mass audience.


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