Often, Guillermo del Toro’s films do not end up delivering on their tremendous potential (see Crimson Peak). Like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, The Shape of Water is the exception that proves this rule. A hard film to sell your mother on, The Shape of Water tells the love story between a mute janitor and an Amazonian fish-man that has been captured by the U.S. government.
Sally Hawkins does nothing more than break your heart as Elisa Esposito, a mute orphan who meets the love of her life, who just happens to breathe water through gills. With the help of two great friends, coworker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins, who portrays a frustrated, over-the-hill gay artist with so much humanism), and a Russian spy (Michael Stuhlbarg, who is also a standout), Elisa plots to break her amphibious boyfriend (Doug Jones, who played a similar role in del Toro’s Hellboy) out of his federal prison, right under the nasty nose of Michael Shannon’s federal agent.
The Shape of Water is a true competitor for best of 2017 honors and shows del Toro to be the creative auteur promised by Pan’s Labyrinth.
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