ENTERTAINMENT
14/02/2018 08:47 SAST

‘The Shape Of Water’ Is A Forbidden Love Story For Our Times: HuffPost Verdict

'Del Toro unveils a beautifully told story of the very best - and very worst - of human nature.'

Fox

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • ‘The Shape Of Water’ received the most Academy Award nominations this year, with 13 nods, including the coveted Best Picture Oscar
  • Director Guillermo del Toro said he was heavily influenced by the 1954 B-movie ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’
  • It took three years to develop the sea creature at the centre of the film’s storyline, which Del Toro financed himself. “It had to do very complicated things: One, it couldn’t look like a real, organic thing; two, it needed to be a movie monster; three, it needed to be a leading man; and four - very important - it needed to be a God, it needed to look like a primal God,” he explained.
  • It cost $20million to make - that’s $180million less than ‘Black Panther’.

S N A P   V E R D I C T

At its heart, ‘The Shape Of Water’ is a straight-up (forbidden) love story, albeit with a fishy twist. Well, the course of true love never runs smoothly, does it? But as we dive deeper, director Guillermo del Toro’s latest creation is also a celebration of what it is to be a misfit. Be that Sally Hawkins’ mute and lonely Elisa, her older, cat-loving gay neighbour (Richard Jenkins) or the amphibious creature - AKA ‘The Asset’ - that Elisa falls in love with (Doug Jones).

Thanks to the swampy cinematography - all green hues - we’re fully submerged into Del Toro’s world from the off. By way of her job as a cleaner in a sinister Baltimore government research facility in the early 1960s, Elisa discovers the gilled monster being kept under lock and key and instantly connects with it.

With a ruthless government agent (Michael Shannon) torturing the creature - and ultimately wanting to dissect it - plus Russian spies sniffing around, a smitten Elisa manages to pull off a highly improbable rescue mission, aided by her neighbour and work colleague Zelda (Octavia Spencer). But will the unlikely couple find their perfect ending?

Part B-movie, part rom-com, part horror, ‘The Shape Of Water’ is, unsurprisingly, both hopeful and dark, timeless and timely. In someone - anyone - else’s hands this tale of interspecies romance that goes all the way, could easily have been a creep fest, but Del Toro unveils a beautifully told story of the very best - and very worst - of human nature.

B E S T   L I N E S

Zelda: 

Some of the best minds in the country and they still pee all over the floor in here.

Elisa:

He sees me for what I am."

T A K E   H O M E   M E S S A G E

In the murky political climate of 2018, where racism, sexism and homophobia are still very much alive and seemingly endorsed by you-know-who, shining a light on what it is to be different - and accepted - is more important than ever.

‘The Shape Of Water’ is in UK cinemas now. Watch the trailer below...