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Being praised around the world as one of the best films of the year
from people visiting festivals, The Shape of Water is Guillermo Del
Toro's latest venture into the strange and moving area of film. From
Pan's Labyrinth to recent films like Pacific Rim, I've always enjoyed
watching his films. While I won't be praising this film as much as some
people have been, it will easily be receiving a recommendation from my
end, but to the right crowd. The Shape of Water is a beautiful, yet
strange tale of romance, and even though you've seen this particular
story many times over, I feel as though there is enough of a fresh spin
to win fans over. Here are my thoughts on The Shape of Water.
To get this out of the way, people will surely be going into this film and receiving flashbacks from films like Beauty and the Beast, Splash, or even Shrek. Taking place in a fantasy world where men capture exotic creatures and use them to experiment on, Eliza discovers the creature after being tortured. Forming a very close bond with him, forming a plan to help him escape, and having him stay in her bathtub where he can have room to breathe, this very quickly becomes a very strange romantic tale that people will either buy into or find themselves wondering why they're watching this movie in the first place.
Throughout the course of the film, certain characters will present themselves in order to provide fear to the creature or to make you side with him, so that the story may progress. There are some definite forced aspects about this film, but when everything is filmed and presented so wonderfully, it's hard to let that clash with your enjoyment of the movie as a whole. To add to that, it was clear that certain scenes or lines of dialogue were added to the film in order to give it a sense of realism, but some of the vulgarity actually took me out of the overall experience, due to the fact that it wanted to get you emotionally invested at the same time. You'll know what I mean if you choose to check out this film.
Aside from appearances in Paddington or Blue Jasmine, I'd never really thought about Sally Hawkins as a leading lady of a major production, but sometimes you're proved to be severely wrong, because her performance here floored me. I was incredibly invested in every single moment her character was on-screen and anything I didn't like about this movie faded away every time she interacted with someone and had to display her emotions through her sign language or by just simply tearing up or showing emotion through her eyes. I will be remembering this performance as one of the best of the year by year.
In the end, where I think this film slightly fails is in its addition of human villains. The Shape of Water is a beautiful romance at its core, but I didn't feel the movie shows quite enough of it to really be a masterpiece, even though the production designers sure made it feel like a damn elegant piece of cinema. If for nothing else, the set design, along with the visual effects and art direction will surely be included in the awards season to come, because it's some of the best I've seen all year (possibly even the absolute best). Overall, I can call The Shape of Water a damn solid film, but it's not quite as wonderful as I was hoping it would be, To fans of strange or unique films, I recommend you check out this movie. Many people seem to be adoring this film, and while I agree that it's impressive, it's just hard not to compare it to many similar concepts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This has absolutely so much going for it - beautifully filmed, with a
magnificent, sweeping score and a stunning performance from Sally
Hawkins - but crashes and burns in sentiment, cliché and cartoon
supporting acts. It comes across, ultimately, as a cack-handed mash up
of "E.T.", "Splash" and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon", as an
aquatic man is captured and brought into a secret military American
laboratory in the 1960s at the height of the cold war, and Sally
Hawkins' mute cleaner develops a bond with it and, ultimately, falls in
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? It certainly has potential, but if the sassy black friend, constantly yammering on about her feckless husband (Octavia Spencer, surely tiring of this kind of role) doesn't get you, or the inefficient gay neighbour/best friend (Richard Jenkins - not his finest two hours) or Michael Shannon's cartoonish, 2D villain, then stay tuned for the ghastly black-and-white fantasy dance number, in which Hawkins and the creature cavort on an elaborate set like Astaire and Rogers. It truly is a ghastly mis-step, jaw-droppingly stupid. The film never really recovered for me, and it lumbered to its predictable climax and ending with numbing melodramatics and sentiment.
I saw this film at TIFF in Sept, and it is absolutely brilliant. It is
much needed in today's world, because it sub textually shows us about
the outdated thoughts on masculinity, sexuality and love. It shows us
that love can blossom anywhere. It may be my favorite del Toro film,
which is saying a lot.
Please click the link to watch my video review, and I hope you enjoy.
Seen at the Viennale 2017: it is good, they chose Sally Hawkins for the main cast. Very well done story telling. It is all a bit too aesthetically. And too predictable. And all feelings are told. There was not much room for my own fantasies. Everything was shown. No space in-between left. If you want to go to the movies for an evening for sheer, perfectly done entertainment - go for it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I knew I know the story when I saw first few seconds of the trailer and yet the cast did not seem familiar... I know del Toro will not disappoint, looking back on his previous work. If you would like to get a short summary of the movie, just look up The Space Between Us (2015), you will get the original story in just 12 minutes.
Guillermo Del Toro's newest film "The Shape of Water" took my breath
away. Easily this is Del Toro's finest film since "Pan's Labyrinth" and
may even be his best in general. This is a film where Del Toro weaves
magic throughout with a story he created which is simple, yet layered
with such interesting facets embedded in each character, set, and prop
as he allows the audience to discover this intimate and fascinating
world of "broken" people searching for a moment of meaning. Captivating
from its opening scenes with haunting visual imagery, and a lyrical
score by Alexandre Desplat, one is immediately enthralled by this fairy
tale that is not your usual saccharine variety that Disney cranks out.
Del Toro knows how to tell a story with wit, style and heart. Assembling a cast headed by the incandescent Sally Hawkins in the role of Eliza who is mute throughout the film, but exudes such humanity and strength along with the villainous Michael Shannon who provides a great balance. Every single actor sparkles because every character has been developed with great care. Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer shine in their roles bringing a touch of quirkiness and humor to this sometimes dark story.
The film is achingly nostalgic with glorious production design by Paul D. Austerberry evoking the Baltimore of 1962 full of fascinating textures of faded glory, especially in the magnificent design of Eliza's apartment and hallways. Exquisite camera work by Dan Laustsen and beautifully designed costumes by Luis Sequiera contribute greatly to complete Guillermo Del Toro's vision.
This film is really the ultimate version of "Beauty and The Beast" with a touch of "ET", capped off with a very emotional investment, that pays off for the audience in its poetic and lyrical final scene.
Certainly one of the finest films of 2017.
28th STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. DAY 1, NOV 8th 2017. Nordic
premiere of "The Shape of Water" (2017).
Balancing humour and drama impressively, the film contains some fine screen writing and an awe-inspiring performance by great Sally Hawkins.
When writer-director Guillermo del Toro returns with his tenth feature, he delivers another amazing fantasy-drama filled with that deep love for movie-making and the oddities of life that very few other Hollywood directors can match. This is beauty in frames.
A friend of mine who liked "Her" like this movie. I can see why. There was no human good enough for each lead in each movie. I was looking for a "Splash" ending & I got it. Spinster and the Beast. And let's demolish the idea that spinsters are not sexual with plenty of hand solo examples. My friend obviously lives in a fantasy world of singlehood.
"The Shape of Water" is an artistic giant. Best movie of the decade...it's that good. From its opening images to its last frame del Toro weaves a multi-dimensional feast for the eyes, ears, heart and mind. A magical love story that plays your heart-strings with the kind of creativity a fantastic dream might unfold without the constraints of plausible segues or limits from physical reality. Yet, del Toro weaves such multidimensional elements delightfully and seamlessly. Images and music present implausible suggestions that brighten heart-mind connections like a drug that just kicked in. After feeling joyfully uplifted in one piece of amazing synthesis next you find yourself writhing in horror from human cruelty, until the next surprising turn. "The Shape of Water" will be a timeless classic and winner of many awards. People will see this movie multiple times and feel delighted, horrified, and amazed each time.
If I was to tell you about Guillermo Del Toro's new film what would I
As the father of dark fantasy, Guillermo Del Toro knows how to bring alive the illusive wonderlands and nightmares we can relish and transform them into wonderful poignant crafts of insight and meaning, and The Shape of Water is no exception. With its journey from Venice to Toronto, The Shape of Water has now hit the London Film Festival, now within reach of this exuberant critic. I had only the budget to see one film at this year's festival and I most certainly made a wise decision.
During the Cold War conflict of the 60s, a mute but hearing Eliza (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaner at a secret government facility, where she becomes drawn to the new specimen: a mysterious marine creature (Doug Jones). While Eliza begins to fall in love with it, the facility head Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), only desires to take the creature apart for experimental advantage against the Russians. Eliza's bond with the creature soon begins to effect those around her: her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), work college Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and scientist Robert Hoffsteder (Michael Stuhbarg) What is amazing profound about Del Toro's latest work is its eccentric visualisation in reflection of the political and social conceptions of the past , but also today. The most centralised end is the the treatment of those who are different. Directly dealing with the fantasy of other species but intertwined with racial treatment relevant to the time in which the film is set, and then of course against the back drop of the national conflicts, but then also the value of those with deficiencies, as portrayed by Sally Hawkins.
More distant from his darker tones in, Pan's Labyrinth, and Crimson Peak, but not far from the surreal fantasy, The Shape of Water becomes more grounded than previous Del Toro films, and diversely more lighter and funnier. With frequent laughs and jokes on screen, the romantic fantasy is a much light hearted watch, of course not without its moment of bloody violence but at a lower volume. What may be hard for some audiences to get their head around, is this idea of an inter-species relations and with the astonishing design of the creature itself becomes something more than just a fish costume. The bond and sexuality of this romance is a significant thread to the film and is one that featured heavily with its repetitive moments of adult content. But what Del Toro explores its is real beauty in love and within the context of the film it does becomes something remarkable.
Sally Hawkins is exceptional in her vigorous performance as the mute Eliza, with dynamic sign language and spirited facial expressions, we see the isolated heart of the "princess without voice" which makes her connection to this solitary creature all the more real. Opposite her is the confident physical actor Doug Jones, manning the rubber suit of the creature in a brilliant bodily performance, outdoing his previous collaborative performances with Del Toro. Then Michael Shannon sensationally brings the real monster to the tale in Strickland, the dominating Colonel facing his battle in masculinity as well as with the creature. Shannon gives one of the best performances of his career, keeping with that classic fairy tale juxtaposition of man being the real monster.
As with all Del Toro's dark fantasies, it all becomes about the characters. Eliza reaching out to another like herself. Strickland trying to maintain his power and masculinity in his skirmish with the creature and Eliza. Hoffsetider being caught between to sides but seeking his own right, and Giles trying to find his significance back in society.
As never fails with a Del Toro films is the signature production design that brings to life these magnificent worlds. The Shape of Water although is not full Del Tory fairy tale land, does have a very extraordinary construct of the real world, from Eliza's apartment to the secret facility, echoing the true Gothic universe of the real world. Opening in a momentous title sequence, Del Toro literally floods the screen in ravishing visual effects and segments. Only more so combined with the inescapable talents of cinematographer: Dan Laustsen, swiftly moving from one room to the next in a mythical immersive experience alluring us furthermore into the depths of the story and art work of the film.
The Shape of Water is a wonderfully weird, quirky, heart-warming, extraordinary piece of cinema. For fans who have found Del Toro's previous works too dark or scary, will be delighted by this much more charming fantasy.
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