Valentine’s Day is here and most of us are in the mood for a good love story. The good news; ‘The Shape of Water” is in fact a love story. The not so good news; I can all but guarantee it isn’t what you had in mind.
Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water” takes place in Baltimore in 1962 and although this is a time where racial tensions had reached a boiling point in our nation, the film only briefly touches upon the subject.
Instead, this movie centers on the life of Elisa Esposito, a lonely mute woman who works as a cleaning lady in a high security government facility that houses a plethora of highly classified “assets.”
One day, an asset arrives that particularly piques Elisa’s interest, a mysterious humanoid amphibian that is kept chained up in a water tank.
Those of you who have seen del Toro’s “Hellboy” might think this creature looks a little familiar. Although he bears a striking resemblance to Abe Sapien, Hellboy’s amphibious sidekick, and is even played by the same actor, del Toro insists that the two are in no way related.
Personally, I’m still holding out for an Easter egg suggesting the exact opposite to turn up before I take his word for it, but I digress.
This creature, that is not given a name other than “The Asset,” was captured from the South American Amazon where the native people revered him as a god, and not without good reason.
The creature possesses extraordinary abilities and even begins to learn sign language. Elisa begins to develop a unique – and when I say unique, I mean unique – bond with this creature that she sees as much more than just a wild animal.
After being tortured and treated cruelly by those who seek to keep him locked away, Elisa realizes that his fate and his survival rests in her hands.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone so I’ll stop summarizing, but I will say this; in my opinion, this beautifully directed, unconventional love story is one of del Toro’s best films yet.
It’s an excellent blend of sci-fi, suspense, romance, noir and action.
It’s easy to see why this film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and five Golden Globes.
So, whether or not you plan on getting romantic this Valentine’s Day, if you’re a sci-fi nerd like me or if you just like good movies, you can’t go wrong with “The Shape of Water.”