The Shape of Water is something I heard about last year. I’m not exactly a stranger to the works of Guillermo del Toro as I enjoyed both Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water was nominated at the Oscars, and managed to luck out and win the nomination for Best Picture, Best Director, and two minor Oscars as well. Though the reaction among regular folks was far more mixed than critics, but what did I think of it?
The film is about a mute woman named Elisa Esposito who works as a cleaner with her friend Zelda Delilah Fuller who often serves as Elisa’s voice as she cannot talk. Elisa lives a very simple and plain life, but she works for a government lab, and while she’s not exactly suppose to see anything important, it’s hard to forget some of things she sees and hears go on. One of the top men at the lab runs out of a room heavily injured. Turns out they were keeping a big fish monster alive and using it as a guinea pig of sorts.
Elisa soon makes contact with the underwater beast who actually is very gentle with her. Elisa feels more connected with the Amphibian Man than most as she feels his situation isn’t that different than her own. However the rather angry Colonel Richard Strickland sees this creature as nothing more than a beast. When it becomes clear he’s not looking out for the living being’s welfare, it’s not just Elisa who will stand up for the beast’s safety.
Overall I was quite a bit disappointed by The Shape of Water. Now that being said, it’s quite well produced, directed, and acted. For those nostalgic for Old Hollywood and classic monster-movies, there’s a lot of homages here. But like many have blurted out before, there is a romance between the human Elisa and the fish monster. And it’s pretty dang weird, especially considering there isn’t much human about the monster. So I did feel the bizarre relationship did drag down the overall story for me I’m afraid. Best Picture? Yeah… I don’t think so in my book.