The Shape of Water – Review

Sometimes, first appearances should be given the benefit of the doubt.  Upon first glance of this seemingly random features including a mute cleaning lady and humanoid sea monster set during the Cold War, you would be forgiven for wondering how this came to be, as long as you are willing to venture a little deeper.

Guillermo del Torro’s latest film, The Shape of Water, is a surprising tale and inspirational tale.  Sally Hawkins places a mute who works as a cleaner at a government laboratory.  She lives a simple, routine life until one day something important is brought into the lab.  At first this remains a bit of a mystery and its importance only known by all the attention this receives.  Eventually she sees, and then begins to interact with this mysterious creature.

For anyone familiar with Guillermo del Torro’s works, this fits right in.  The fantastical elements melded with some archetypical characters and themes yield an exciting tale.  This is really where his work shines and is much more along the lines of Pan’s Labyrinth rather than the attempts at broader commercial appeal such as Pacific Rim.

The Shape of Water is a tale of many morals.  It is a story of doing what you know is right, no matter how difficult.  It is a story of how even someone who society would traditionally view as small or weak, is able to fight against the strong and powerful and still succeed.  It is a story of feeling alone and of feeling that you are important.

For some, the boiled down notion of an “ordinary” lady falling in love with a sea monster will be a pill to large to swallow.  That’s okay.  For those who are able to undergo the suspension of belief to enjoy this film for what it has to offer, they will not be disappointed.

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