The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Written by Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg

A lonely janitor (Hawkins) falls in love with a strange creature being held captive in a secret military laboratory.

This film is the latest creation from the unique mind of Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak). In addition to directing the film, del Toro also wrote the screenplay alongside Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs). The cast of this one includes Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Arrival).

This film is another example of the unique mind of Guillermo del Toro. Like many of his other films, this one features unique characters and a setting that is rich with fantasy. Along with Vanessa Taylor, del Toro weaves a unique story using characters that have fascinating quirks and challenges. The dialogue throughout the movie is strong, giving the actors a lot to work with. There is also a powerful theme that the entire film is colored with. Luckily, this movie has a theme but not an overwhelming one. The message is clear but doesn’t feel pushed at any time. The characters written for the film are complicated and interesting, giving the audience a lot to take in. Like most of his work, del Toro gives audiences a lot to think about with this one.

The actors took this script and turned it into something unique and wonderful. Sally Hawkins leads this one the whole way, giving a powerful performance. She’s joined by Richard Jenkins with whom she shares a wonderful chemistry. Jenkins does nice work in his own right. Michael Shannon took a strong role and gave it teeth. This movie is just another example of his great intensity and acting skill. Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg add excellent performances of their own. The entire cast seemed to buy into the world of the film, elevating an already strong script.

This film creates a stylized world for the characters to live in. The use of color adds to the wonderfully designed sets, costuming, and visual effects. The camera work is solid and the editing keeps this one rolling along. The film also benefits from an excellent score, composed by Alexandre Desplat (Philomena).

Fans of del Toro need to be sure to check this one out. I would also encourage fans of any of the actors in this one to take the time to see it. This is a film that runs from whimsical to romantic to suspenseful all within a world of science fiction and intrigue. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 123 Minutes


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