The Shape of Water Review

27 Nov

I’m not sure if this is a good film or if Guillermo del Toro is just good at endearing stylistic pizzazz. For instance, the central romance here should not be at all believable, and not necessarily because it’s a romance that involves a juiced up frog monster; rather, it’s simply a woefully underdeveloped dynamic that’s asked to carry the film. Furthermore, the shifts among genres really don’t work together well at all, with the Cold War angle only providing some tension because Michael Shannon is a really goddamn fun person to watch. The majority of the supporting characters are relatively isolated and thematically limp.

And yet, this is more of a big picture film for me, one that I enjoy because of del Toro’s overarching vision and his commitment to the fantastical. There’s a very basic structure underlying it all, but the director imbues it with his clear love for the genre film and manages to wring some beautifully emotional visuals out of it. Unlike something like Pacific Rim, one of the most hollow and relentlessly drab attempts at spectacle that I have ever forced myself through, I can actually feel the heart here. And that heart emanates from del Toro’s focus on outsiders, on those who don’t fit within the expectations of society but are still thoroughly capable of finding love and friendship. These are the people, or creatures, who deserve something, anything, just by the mere fact that they are alive.


5 Responses to “The Shape of Water Review”

  1. peggyatthemovies November 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    I loved it. I found it simply beautiful and endearing for the most part. The fact is, if someone told me they were making a movie of a romance between a fishman and a mute – and I would love it – I would have laughed in their face. And yet, I did. del Toro and entire cast got standing O after standing O at my screening and were probs one of the best & funniest Q & A’s I’ve ever had the priviledge of going to! 🙂

  2. Keith December 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    It has been really interesting to see the reactions to this one. Lots of variety of opinion. Still haven’t seen it but hope to soon.

  3. MovieManJackson December 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    The supporting characters did little for me too, and I think a little more subtlety would have gone a long way. Still, this is a spectacular production from a real auteur.

    • polarbears16 December 16, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

      Agreed, some of the flaws were smoothed over by the film as a production/passion project.

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