The Shape of Water Review


Daniel Cruse, Messenger Reporter

The Shape of Water is Guillermo Del Toro’s latest fantasy film, following Sally Hawkins as a janitor named Elisa working at a government research facility. An amphibious, humanoid creature is brought to the facility as a captive to be experimented on and Elisa begins to connect with him. The film is set in the 1960’s as tension from The Cold War was at its highest, and the American government hopes to use this creature’s biological abilities to aid research for the Space Race.


The direction used in this film is very colorful and stylish, the palette used is mostly murky with many blues and greens, tying into the motif of water that comes up throughout the film, but Del Toro occasionally uses a bold red to contrast those colors. Technically this film is incredibly well done and the word visionary is thrown around a lot in reference to many directors but it really applies to Del Toro. The music is very melodic and pretty and the score makes use of a full range of organic instruments in a way that strengthens the atmosphere of the film.


The story of this film delves into themes of love, isolation, bigotry, prejudice. Elisa, who serves as the protagonist of the film, is a mute woman and has struggled to find people who will admire or respect her for who she is rather than what she is lacking. And the creature she meets at this facility does not understand that she has a disability and they create a bond that neither of them have experienced before. The part of this film that may lose many people is that the relationship between the creature and Elisa becomes romantic and it is not a conventional love story but within the context of this story, I felt that it was handled as tastefully as possible. The relationship between Elisa and this creature, and her other friends at the facility or her neighbors, felt very real and had a lot of depth to them. The characters all had very satisfying arcs and the story wraps up beautifully.


The Shape of Water lead the Oscar nominations this year with 13 different categories and its safe to say that this will be looked back on as one of the most unique, beautiful films of the past few years