Guillermo Del Toro has had a string of questionable movies, but I believe I’ve watched them all since Pan’s Labyrinth (which is a fantastic movie, btw, definitely check that out). My wife was really, really interested in seeing this movie, and so, without looking into it at all, we went to our first theater movie of 2018 to see “The Shape of Water.”
I really, really recommend just going to see it without seeing any spoilers. It’s not that the story is especially surprising. It’s mostly predictable once it sets up the characters and the plot moves on at a perfect pace. Humor is here. Love is here. Danger and violence is here. Nudity and sex is here–including some really bold ways to being a movie, I might add. And bold is probably a word I should use liberally in this review.
This is, quite simply, the best movie Del Toro has done since Pan’s Labyrinth. Is it better? I wouldn’t say that. I would say that he’s more accomplished now, and I think he is simply back in form as a dynamic, interesting storyteller of the fantastic. As a somewhat creative person myself, I was so happy to see this movie. The pacing allows you to think about what is going on, and the character and powers and everything else are revealed very intuitively and convincingly. You feel the frailty of the character. You feel the desperate situation that this creature, and really the entire cast of characters, is in.
The atmosphere is interesting and both a throwback and something new. The actors are perfectly cast, and really just a joy to watch–including a pretty convincing and yet sympathetic antagonist. The story ending will leave you satisfied.
My wife and I loved the movie. I would say this is as good a movie experience as I could have expected. Jenny and I both really enjoyed it. I’ll say 5/5 stars. It is a genuine triumph for Del Toro. I hope he gets to make more like this.