The Shape of Water (2017)
Critic Consensus: The Shape of Water finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best -- and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance.
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as Elisa Esposito
as Amphibian Man
as Robert Hoffstetler
as Elaine Strickland
as General Hoyt
as Brewster Fuller
as Mr. Arzoumanian
as Pie Guy
as Burly Russian
as Military Policeman
as Sally (Secretary)
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Critic Reviews for The Shape of Water
Hawkins's performance throughout is career-defining. With her eyes, mouth and physicality, she finds a level of emotional eloquence to render speech redundant.
All plot holes can be subsumed within the magical-realist tone for which Del Toro is famed. Yet there's an uncomfortable tension between the film's whimsical, Amélie-light (or, lighter) style and its clumsy political point-scoring.
The Shape of Water almost drowns in its own gorgeousness. It is a Beauty and the Beast fable where both get to be beautiful and neither has to be beastly.
Pulses attractively like a luminous toyshop novelty; one inspired by The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Audience Reviews for The Shape of Water
The world del Toro created was both visually appealing and unique, but the story of girl meets fish-boy did not resonate with me the way it did with the Academy. Score was fantastic.
While the set-up, production design, acting and directing is flawless I found myself a tad underwhelmed by the film after so much praise. It's the story. Once you heard the premise you can pretty much figure out the entire plot. That's a little disappointing for such an unusual and ambitious project. A lot of Del Toro's quirky trademarks are there, but it's a surprisingly mainstream film, if bestiality doesn't bother you.
If this is not the 2017 Best Picture winner at the Oscars then I don't know what. Del Toro, writer and director, chooses to keep his leads silent, thereby broadening their appeal in this story about loneliness and separation, and the joy of discovering that that is not exactly so. Like lasagna, there are many levels to this, kudos to cinema, music, dance, photography, to humanity, to love ... it is a tour de force of a work, meant to be experienced more than simply just once. And Hawkins is a revelation.
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