ON SCREEN · FILM
The Shape of Water
Set during the Cold War, Guillermo del Toro’s gorgeous, otherworldly fairy tale stars Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon.
Nominated for 13 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress (Sally Hawkins)
In a work that shares the soulfulness of his Pan’s Labyrinth, writer-director Guillermo del Toro crafts a grown-up fairy tale set in an amber-glowing 1962 Baltimore. Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute lonely heart mopping floors in a government lab, encounters a magical “asset” being studied and tortured by an obsessive federal agent (a superb Michael Shannon). The intensity of her connection to this “beast” changes her life.
The brilliant ensemble includes Richard Jenkins, playing Elisa’s artist/neighbor, and Octavia Spencer as her no-nonsense work buddy. Within this richly detailed wondrous world, del Toro magically weaves elements of horror, a Beauty and the Beast romance and sharp Cold War satire to unforgettable effect. D: Guillermo del Toro, U.S.-Mexico, 2017, Runtime: 2h
Fairy tales were born in times of trouble, in complicated times—when hope felt lost. I made The Shape of Water as an antidote to cynicism. For it seems to me that when we speak of love—when we believe in love—we do so in a hopeless way. We fear looking naïve and even disingenuous. But love is real—absolutely real—and, like water, it is the most gentle and most powerful force in the universe. It is free and formless until it pours into its recipient, until we let it in. Our eyes are blind. But our soul is not. It recognizes love in whatever shape it comes to us.
—Guillermo del Toro