The Shape of Water

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg

It’s hard to adequately describe Guillermo Del Toro’s latest triumph, the epic fairytale that is The Shape of Water. It’s incredibly beautiful and yet slightly horrifying. The Grimm Brothers would absolutely approve and I absolutely loved it.

This is not just a Beauty and the Beast story with a Creature From the Black Lagoon twist, it is an allegory for a number of the social and political challenges we are currently facing. But I will let you see it for yourself and take in your own perspective rather than spoil it with mine.

I thought the production design was exquisite. The visual effects are flawless. It really felt like the early 60s, but with a magical liquid aura about it. New and old film tricks bring life to Del Toro’s imaginings. He really does love monsters.

Sally Hawkins demonstrates again that she is one of our generation’s most talented actresses. She’s a front runner for best actress without really speaking, which is quite an achievement. Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg are also perfectly cast in this Cold War fantasy. I heard someone say that Guillermo selected the actors for this film because of their eyes, and they all have wonderfully expressive eyes.

It’s romantic, it’s shocking, it’s visually stunning, socially and politically significant, and all while being absolutely magical. It is not surprising that it won the Golden Lion in Venice. I cannot wait to see it again.

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