Movie Review of "The Shape of Water"



The visually enchanting fantasy romance of Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water is something exquisite and otherworldly. It is a tale of a beauty and a beast where neither actually has to be beastly and both get to be beautiful in their own way. This is a great movie about the monsters both around as well as within us. It revolves around the fact that a person can fall in love with someone the world perceives as a monster because he doesn’t look and sound the way ordinary people do.

The story shows a woman having an illicit love affair with a marsh monster. It is played with all the trance integrity of a classic thwarted romance.

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In the movie, we are introduced to Elisa (played by Sally Hawkins) who works as a janitor at a government facility involved in mysterious experiments. The girl lives a quiet life and does not speak. At her work, she is expected to just do her work and question nothing. The era in the movie is of the 60s when America and Russia are at the peak of the cold war and there are several spies operating in private fashions. One particular night, a strange containment unit appear in the facility and Elisa happen to trip over its contents- an aquatic humanoid creature looking like a cross between a man and a fish. The girl (who is usually awkward around humans) resolves to save this creature and eventually falls in love with him.

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The Shape of Water is several ideas mashed together kind of a saga- a fairy tale, a heist movie, a comedy, social commentary, a love story, but also a horror film. It is an amazing achievement by Del Toro and his co-writer, Vanessa Taylor that they managed to balance out so many different themes effortlessly on writing as well as stunning cinematography level despite the low budget. Thanks to its much resemblance to the creature from Black Lagoon, the aquatic humanoid creature here itself has an amazing presence.  Del Toro’s admiration for monsters has been documented in a wonderful way here. Also, the role of the villainous Colonel Richard played by Michael Shannon is absolutely stunning.

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So just watch the movie and be prepared to be awed by the astonishing visual palette it has to offer. You’ll surely get swept away by the emotions that the movie delivers. Unfortunately, there are a few cuts in the movie imposed by CBFC. However, it won’t let you deter from experiencing a magical cinema.