If I spoke about it – if I did – what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems. In the last days of a fair prince’s reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast, but far from everything else. Or, I don’t know… Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to destroy it all.
I can’t think of a better opening to this review than by quoting the opening lines because I don’t think that the amount of words I have could make up for the amount of praise I have for this film. I will be reviewing Guillermo Del Toro’s new film The Shape of Water.
The film is set in the Baltimore 1962, the Cold War era. Elisa Esposita (Sally Hawkins) and her friend Zelda Delilah Fuller (Octavia Spencer) are cleaners at the Occam Aerospace Research Center. This is a government facility which is currently run by Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). He collects an asset (Doug Jones) from a river in South America and brings it to this research facility to see if it will help win the cold war against the Russians. Elisa sneaks into the lab and interacts with the asset. She starts to fall in love and does whatever she can to free him. A story of love in the most unconventional way possible.
I had not paid attention to the film and couldn’t care until I saw behind the scene photos of the film. I watched the trailer and became enamoured. You see the film was made by Guillermo Del Toro, an amazing director that made the Hellboy films. I was in love with those films and I grew up watching them. He had based this film on the ‘romance’ between the creature from Black Lagoon and Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams). I then went on to watch and saw that everything was intricately designed and by intricate, I mean INTRICATE.
The asset or Charlie as his name was is a very real person, or should I say suit. In an interview with Doug Jones (plays Charlie) he talks about how Guillermo approached him for this film. It was an entire wet suit made with latex. The glow effects were lights. It was a real suit and not some fake CGI and this elevated the film in so many ways. It was an authentic honour to the old filmmakers that made the monsters costumes. Everything in this film is beyond amazing and not just Charlie’s design but Sally Hawkins does an amazing job. All the actors show a need for completion which they succeed in the end.
The plot may come across weird but it is a true joy to watch with the music constantly going, the raw emotions and the development of a great relationship on screen. I was in tears and moved, the film gave me a new vision to the world and I love this movie. I recommend watching it and I don’t think that the amount of praise I have for this film is enough. It deserves all the awards it is given and I cannot wait to see more of Guillermo’s work. A perfect end to Valentines Day!