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.
Kristin Scott Thomas
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
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 »
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 ...
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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.
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