Shape of Water is a very good film and I can see why it has received the numerous Oscar/Bafta nominations, as it has all the right ingredients; great acting, great direction, great sets, quirky story, someone with an affliction, etc. It also ticked all the right boxes for me.
Not sure I need to mention the story-line as it’s actually a fairly simple tale of love, just involving a merman and a mute. A bit like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Beauty and the Beast mixed into an adult fairy-tale.
Both Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon are great; Sally gives a very innocent portrayal of someone who will make a stand when pushed, whereas Michael Shannon has ‘angry’ off to a T (although his performance is rather similar to the one in Midnight Special). Doug Jones as the merman was obviously limited to what he could do but his mannerisms were suitably quirky and believable (probably helps that it’s the same role he played in Hellboy). Special mention must also go to Richard Jenkins as a lovable old fool of a next door neighbour.
One thought struck me as I left, I wonder how many modern films (as in, not silent) have the two main leads silent for almost the entire film. Not many I bet.
Verdict: Another great fairy-tale re-imagined by Del Toro (almost as good as Pan’s Labyrinth but not quite).