From the man who made Hellboy (2004) and Pacific Rim (2013), Guillermo del Toro brings to us another movie starring an aquatic creature that manages to make a human being fall in love with him. Did you guess what I’m talking about? Yup. You got that right. The Shape of Water is one of the most wonderfully depicted movies of all time. And, I’m not saying that just because it won the Award for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards. It has a number of themes that brings out the message of love and del Toro has just outdone himself in every avenue.
The movie revolves around the character of a mute woman named Elisa Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) who works at a government research facility at the height of the Cold War between America and Russia. She lives a mundane life and has just two close friends, namely Giles (played by Richard Jenkins), her neighbour and best friend, and Zelda (played by Octavia Spencer), her colleague who is seen to be her interpreter at the workplace. Everything changes when the humanoid amphibian is brought to her facility from a South American river. The story encompasses their growing friendship and ultimately ends in their love for each other.
Now, there’s probably the same question running through everyone’s head. How can a lady and a ‘fishman’ be in love? I mean, is that sanitary? There is a scene I recall, where Elisa tells Zelda about her intimate experience with the ‘fishman.’ She’s mute, so the sign language gives Zelda a good idea of how it happened. The one thing that they have in common is that they don’t utter a single word. Their inability to communicate through words is a major theme in the movie. Another theme that is quite evident in the movie is the fact that they feel so alone in their worlds. The fishman is a captured creature, thus he feels alone and vulnerable and Elisa, although she has company, finds it hard to express herself to them and thus feels lonely as well. She desperately wants a romantic relationship in her life and the fishman seems like the perfect fit.
There are a lot of elements in the movie that one can fall in love with. I mentioned some themes in the previous paragraph. That’s one of the elements I liked in the movie. We live in a world where verbal communication is so important. This movie brings out a relationship between the human and the amphibian that no word can describe. Just trying to find a word to describe their relationship makes me smile. It’s depicted so beautifully, I think every girl would want an amphibian boyfriend after watching the film. The love that they have for each other is so strong, it makes Elisa do crazy things like take him home through a plan she hatched all by herself. Oh, the things we do for love.
All in all, this is one movie you must watch before you die. For all the romantics out there, this movie is so delicious, you’ll probably forget about The Notebook and the other romantic movies. This kind of forbidden love is always a crowd pleaser and I, for one, am definitely pleased.
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