Review: The Shape of Water

What would I say, I wonder?

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaner in a research facility. She doesn't have many companions, there's Zelda (Octavia Spencer) her only work friend for over a decade and her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) who she spends time with during the day. One day a strange fish creature is brought into her facility and she finds herself drawn to him and wants to set him free.

This film has had buzz about it since this summer so the wait to actually watch it felt excruciating. During that time I lowered my expectations, which I'm thankful for. The Shape of Water is good, but it's not free of issues.  

If you're wondering why the Academy sent nuts for a film where a woman fucks a fish man, it's probably because there's a Hollywood musical number thrown in. Seriously. It's brief, but felt out of place, even though it shouldn't. And that brings me to my issues with the film. There were so many side stories that shouldn't have felt out of place because they expand on the supporting characters, but they did. I felt like they were trying to go in too many directions at once.

Thankfully, there is so much more to love than there is to nitpick. Guillermo del Toro's movies always look beautiful (aside from Pacific Rim) and this is no exception. The production design here is lovely and the make up on Doug Jones who plays Abe Sapian the creature is stunning. The acting is excellent too. Sally Hawkins gives one of the best performances of the year. The supporting staff is strong too, though to be honest as much as I loved Octavia Spencer in this role I'm not sure why she has an Oscar nomination for it. She doesn't have a lot to do. Michael Stuhlbarg once again was the actor that stood out for me. 

The Shape of Water might be one of the most beautifully bizarre films you ever see. It balances beauty, a bit of gore, and a whole lot of odd very well. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I don't want an intricate, beautiful thing destroyed!" - Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg)

19 comments:

  1. You know, I fall out of love with this one day by day. Like, I was impressed by it at first, but the more I think about it, the less I like it. It has its flaws and it definitely shouldn't be winning so many awards right now.

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    1. I don't mind it winning production awards but Best Director...no. there are better directors this year.

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  2. I'm really excited for this one- it doesn't come out in the UK until mid February so I can definitely relate to the excruciating wait.

    But a bit apprehensive about that musical number. The whole idea is bizarre, which I take no issue with because weird shit is sometimes the best shit, but I have little time for scenes that seem to have been put there just so people will talk about them. I'm not saying that's what The Shape of Water has done, but it does make me wonder.

    Nice post!

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    1. It's a quick scene and narratively I see why they did it, but it just didn't work for me.

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  3. I think it has a good shot to win Best Picture this year even though I wouldn't even nominate it. I found it to be visually stunning but full of narrative issues that I couldn't get over. I agree about the wedged in musical number.

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    1. That sums up exactly how I feel about it.

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  4. I don't know what Spencer did to be nominated either. She was fine, but come on. I think the person who came closest to my nominations is Jenkins.

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    1. Jenkins was good but even so I thought Stuhlbarg was better than him.

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  5. Let's see how The Simpsons go with their version of this movie

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  6. I do want to see this as I'm a fan of Guillermito (that's what I'm calling him) as he makes the kind of films that not many people are willing to do. I really really really want to see this.

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    1. True. He's a very ballsy director. Pan's Labyrinth and Hell Boy 2 are still my favorites of his.

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  7. Yeah after watching the film I don't get Spencer's nomination either. Is Stuhlbarg is every freaking 2017 movie?! Not complaining bc yes, he was so good here and in everything but, I saw CMBYN, The Shape of Water and The Post practically in a row so yeah 😂

    I really liked this one too, it was so beautiful. It's been a while since I genuinely loved a more whimsical/fantasy movie.

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    1. I saw these three in a row too! lol. I love Stuhlbarg though, he was great on Boardwalk Empire (and he should have a Best Supporting Actor nom for CMBYN)

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  8. I'm excited to watch this just to see what the buzz is about and why it's winning so many awards. It's not so hyped up compared to the other Oscar movies, but I am hoping it will be good.

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  9. I fell in love with this from practically the first frame, and the musical number (perhaps unsurprisingly, given that it's me) sealed the deal (Sally Hawkins brought a tear to my eye).

    THANK YOU for mentioning Abe Sapien - my friend's review of this was basically "thank you for the Abe Sapien origin story", which made me laugh SO HARD, because it's TRUE.

    I don't think a nomination for Octavia Spencer was particularly necessary (it's nothing she hasn't done before), but she's so entertaining in this - her "never trust a man" scene had me HOWLING.

    Low key, this movie has the greatest "Fuck you" of all time.

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    1. My husband kept asking me "are you sure this isn't supposed to be Abe Sapien?" when the trailers for this first came out. It literally could've been.

      I love musicals too but I don't know, it just felt forced.

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  10. I really liked this film but, as you said, it is flawed. While I did like the musical number, I found most, if not all the subplots annoying. They were supposed to develop the supporting characters but they did nothing at all.

    I can't believe this won best picture over Three Billboards.

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    1. I felt so weird complaining about that myself. It's like, I want these characters to be developed but none of their subplots were particularly interesting.

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