The Shape of Water



Guillermo del Toro's films are always memorable, unique cinematic visions. Crimson Peak, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim were all extravagant and beautiful, in their way, often filled with unsettling images and certainly not the rosiest of outlooks. Del Toro's take on Beauty and the Beast, The Shape of Water, uses a smaller, more intimate canvas than those films to tell the story of a mute custodial worker (Sally Hawkins) in the late '50s who falls for an amphibious ... man-creature (Doug Jones) that was captured in the Brazilian jungle and confined to a military installation to be studied for possible weaponization. She plots a daring rescue with the help of friends and, for a time, has an affair with the creature. This fantastic story is, of course, not actually a fairy tale romance at all but an indictment of our frightful incapacity to care for others. The ubiquitous Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg offer their usual fine support but, for me, the exquisite art direction and lovely, balletic scenes between Hawkins and Jones elevate the film from superior motion picture to art.

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