742 user 871 critic

The Shape of Water (2017)

1:49 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Prime Video

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.



(screenplay by), (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
5 ( 4)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 97 wins & 269 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Lady Bird (2017)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

Director: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
I, Tonya (2017)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

Director: Craig Gillespie
Stars: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Dunkirk (2017)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Stars: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
Darkest Hour (2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas
Get Out I (2017)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
The Post (2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Set in 1950's London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.

Director: James Franco
Stars: James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Arzoumanian


From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fable set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

22 December 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La forma del agua  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,564, 1 December 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$61,888,637, 15 March 2018

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$130,949,500, 8 March 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (dream sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The only film of the year to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars. See more »


Surveillance cameras in the early 60s, such as those used on the loading dock were MUCH larger than those used in the film. This was either a much newer camera, or someone's guess of what a surveillance camera looked like in those days. See more »


[first lines]
Giles: If I spoke about it - if I did - what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems. In the last days of a fair prince's reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast, but far from everything else. Or, I don't know... Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to ...
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Charles Barkley/Migos (2018) See more »


Flitting About
Written by Wilfred Burns
Courtesy of APM Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Bizarre adult fairy tale love story
18 February 2018 | by See all my reviews

It's the 60s, the era of Cold War. The Americans are living their dream, while at the same time fearing the nuclear bomb and the Red Threat. Spy game is in full bloom and both of the great nations are vying for technological supremacy. In the midst of this, a most curious specimen arrives at a space research laboratory in Baltimore. A being unlike anything seen by modern science. But curiously it's the mute cleaning woman, who best seems to understand this beastman.

Guillermo del Toro has always traveled down his own path. In fact, I'm unsure whether he even knows the main path exists at all. With The Shape of Water he returns back to the genre of adult fairy tales. Quite like his previous film, Pan's Labyrinth. And truth be told, these two films have much in common. Both feature female characters struggling between two worlds, those of myth and reality. In both the myth offers an escape both from the fears and horrors of the real world. In both it's the reality that reveals itself to be the source of true evil.

That being said, there are differences. The setting is quite different, changing war-torn Spain for Cold War United States, though both of these locations are treated with a critical and nostalgic touch, although the films don't forget to have a smile every now and then either. And whereas Pan's Labyrinth was told through the eyes of a child protagonist, reflecting and talking about the fears and challenges of childhood, The Shape of Water has as its main character a woman. A sexually frustrated, lonely woman. And the film reflects that quite nicely. It's a risque film in many respects and I doff my hat to del Toro for having the guts to go all the way.

It's also a beautifully acted film. Sally Hawkins is marvelous, especially having to play a mute person. Yet her soul is laid bare in front of us and we struggle alongside her through her hardships and victories. Michael Shannon as Colonel Strickland gives a great performance as well and I do feel he was slightly snubbed in not getting an Oscar nomination.

If I was forced to choose, I would say Pan's Labyrinth is the better film. But it's a minute difference. The Shape of Water is a beautiful, thoughtful film that shows del Toro to be one of the best storytellers of our time.

59 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 742 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page