The Shape of Water (2017) Poster

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1/10
So disappointing.
bigsmiles-284642 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was taught before criticism that you should first bring up the good points. Good points: Cinematography, good actors, great old movie clips and music, great sets, good costumes, and an extremely promising storyline. Unfortunately, this movie missed, when it really could have, and SHOULD have, hit. I think from now on I'll choose my movies based upon how they're doing at the box office, and not based on reviews. It seems to be a better indicator of what the public REALLY thinks about a film. We're at week 3 and (for such a seemingly magnificent film), The Shape of Water hasn't even broken even. A telling clue. Budget:$19,400,000 (estimated) Opening Weekend USA: $166,564, 3 December 2017, Limited Release Gross USA: $12,140,155, 28 December 2017

Personally, I found it contrived, unbelievable, and just plain stupid. Where to start? A cookie cutter "Beauty and the Beast" love story with too many holes. I never caught on to the burgeoning romance. Somehow it just fell flat for me. It was already a mediocre movie when they did that ridiculous black & white dance sequence, which was so far out of place, I lost all interest. The music and old film clips were great, but what were they thinking? Were they trying to cash in on some La La Land success? Or was it supposed be some allusion to Cinderella's ball? It would have made more sense as a dream sequence either where Hawkins had dozed off during a flick, or in the bathtub. Ew. Were the masturbation scenes really necessary? I can't see where they drove the plot. Are we supposed to believe a creature like that could or would run into a theatre, leaving a blood trail no less, without being seen by ANYONE? Then he just stands watching a film. (All the while knowing he was in danger from humans and he needed to get to water)? All this, and the projectionist doesn't notice? Where are the film patrons? How'd he get IN without being noticed by anyone? An unlocked door? What would be the purpose of having a box office if you're going to leave an access door unlocked? Are we supposed to believe that the creature, being so sick and weak that he must be released immediately, suddenly has superhuman strength after some strange (and inexplicable) resurrection event following his "death"? And are we supposed to believe that you could pull a full grown man via a bullet hole in his cheek? (You'd rip right through.) Are we supposed to believe that the best friend wouldn't have freaked out about the coitus? In her eyes, wasn't it more an animal. At the very least, one would expect her to broach the subject of pregnancy. How did those two remain standing in the bathroom? The force of the water would have carried them out. If it was pressing that much on the door, the window should have blown. Why didn't Richard Jenkins appear to grieve at all regarding his cat? And why? Oh WHY? Couldn't they just release him directly into the ocean immediately, rather than wait for the locks to fill. I mean the water was RIGHT THERE. They could have made a bath in the back of the van, and just got him to the coast. On and on I could go, but I'm done with my rant.

Save your money. If you want dumbed down fantasy get the Hallmark channel. At least you know you're getting purely pleasant drivel, instead of wasting your money and being grossly disappointed.
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1/10
2 hours of my life I will never get back.
mfp-654-19990028 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I really don't understand the hype for this movie. I know del Toro makes some odd movies, but I did like Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage, so I went into this one without reading any reviews or knowing much about it but expecting something decent as a way to spend 2 hours of my life. Wrong! -The dialogue in this movie is just choppy and facetious. The most cringeworthy conversation to me was between Hoyt and the ugly bad dude. Fragmented threats like "I will take you out of this universe" just don't do it for me. Absolutely illogical and nonsensical script. It seems like they said every line in the movie thinking that it was deep and had an impact and was super important... but nothing was really needed for this movie. It could've been filmed without speaking at all and the stupid story still would have come across. -I just didn't feel the relationship/love between the annoyingly mousy lead lady and the fish dude. She got on my damn nerves, really. So she brought the semi-sentient creature some boiled eggs that she made while she fapped in her bathtub (awkward and unnecessary). And meanwhile the entire f*cking building is on camera, but they never see her repeatedly sneaking in his sealed off room to feed him and even play music and dance for him?!?! serious cringe-fest right there. -the black lady Zelda ran her mouth all the time but yet everyone stepped all over her, including the lead (Sally I think? I'm trying hard to forget this stupid movie). Couldn't she ever tell Zelda a simple "thank you" for all the millions of times Zelda stepped up for her, made sure she ate, translated for her, punched her time card for her, lied for her, etc? Not once did Sally show gratitude. It's like Sally is a weird, selfish person that became infatuated with a dude that looks like Thane from Mass Effect 2 (yet Thane was 1,000 times more of a fleshed out character than this "god fish") and everyone just helped the anorexic mouse lady because she "found true love." No one thought this was f*cking weird?? She meets a semi-intelligent FISH in a lab tank and bangs him and has a sick puppy love for him and everyone in the movie acted like that was completely normal. Seriously? In what world is bestiality normal? Just completely idiotic. -Soooo many unnecessary and useless scenes. Who cares about the mean dude (Michael Shannon) not liking noise and furiously banging his weird Stepford Wife missionary style while he covers her mouth and continually tells her to shut up? And when he got his new Cadillac car with the weird salesman and all the useless banter about its color being "teal" not "green?" Or the scene with Sally furiously water-fapping while she makes boiled eggs for the weird fish dude? or where M Shannon pees in front of the 2 ladies without holding his d*ck? I could go on and on forever and rip this movie to shreds, but I'm already annoyed and tired from writing all this. This movie was completely and utterly stupid, and I wish I could have my time and money back. Fail, del Toro. Big stupid fail. Ugh.
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2/10
Guillermo Del Toro does "Amelie" meets "Creature from the Black Lagoon"
malcolja1 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Diabetics beware, you're in for a saccharine flavoured heap of mush.

The Shape of Water was directed/created by Guillermo Del Toro best known for creepy and violent films such as Pan's Labyrinth and more mainstream writings such as Hellboy and The Hobbit. For some reason he has had a dose of the lovestrucks and written a film that is basically Amelie meets Creature from the Black Lagoon. There are a couple of questionable violent scenes (torturing a dying man by dragging him around via a bullet wound to the cheek had a touch of the old GDT that we know and love) but the plot literally has no surprises whatsoever. I picked the minor twist about 10 minutes in, and spent the second half of the film waiting for it to be over.

I am sorry to say the only interesting part was the reveal (not literally) of the sea creature's penis via the main character's description which is frankly hilarious.

Octavia Spencer does a fantastic job of playing herself (Was this woman born middle aged?) but let's face it we love her anyway. I would love her to be my best friend, she's a hoot.

Michael Shannon (whom I remember from Take Shelter and Boardwalk Empire) plays a creepy bad guy in a way that makes me never want to have him around for Christmas lunch. Why does he always play someone sexually awkward? I pray we'll never find out.

I was most disappointed that unlike Pan's Labyrinth and some of the other films GDT has made it's not set in a fantastical different world. It's basically the 1950s cold war era in USA with no real pretense of being anything but. I was hoping for a magical realism, but other than the creature, there's no otherworldliness to it.

I am a solid romantic, but I found the plot so saccharine that it made me feel nauseous. There is also a sudden musical number that almost had me running for the aisle, and my sister desperate to see my husband's face (He's allergic to musicals generally). Apart from this light relief, I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I am pretty alone in this opinion, our party was split between 3 people who loved it, and my husband and I who hated it. Maybe if I hadn't seen other GDT films I would have liked it more. My husband also thought the trailer completely misrepresented what he expected from the film. So maybe we were in the wrong movie. But I think romance lovers won't like the art house element, and art house/GDT fans won't like this film. So I think commercially it will be hard to place.
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3/10
The Sad Shape of Moviemaking
Movie Watcher22 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
While the basic premise of this King Kong-ish plot, the lead acting (with the exception of the stereotypical and WAY overplayed villain), and the recreation of the 60's time period are all somewhat worthy (three stars worth), there are many oddly-forced and clunky scenes all of which impede the storytelling flow and represent a serious distraction: Gratuitous gore (rotting fingers, headless kitty), homosexual innuendo, masturbation, a bathroom that will hold 7 feet of water by simply closing the door and putting a towel under it, inter-species love at first sight sexual attraction and off-screen consummation, and a Saturday-Night-Live-like song and dance skit (?), among several others.

Even with the love-conquers-all 'happy ending' and a beautifully depicted submerged in water embrace final scene,' overall it doesn't digest well.

P.S. The shill-like adoration of just the titles alone (!) of most of the 10/10 user ratings for this film are absurdly hilarious, their effusively giddy text even more so.
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3/10
Bloody Weird
rioplaydrum18 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
G. Del Toro has been frequently fawned over as a 'masterful story teller'. I found nothing 'masterful' about it. I absolutely could not hook in to this film. It made no logistical sense at all. It also had a dark and cartoonish feel to it like a Bat Man film.

The setting in which the story takes place is deeply flawed. Eliza (the dumb one), and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) work as cleaning ladies in a so-called top secret facility when there seems to be nothing top-secret about it.

The cleaning pair wander at will throughout the facility and discover it's also 'top-secret' biological specimen with no clearance at all. Right.

And low and behold, the biological specimen is none other than the Creature from the Black Lagoon! This time in living color and many upgrades.

One might also notice Octavia Spencer is appearing in every other bomb out of Hollywood as a supporting actress and nothing more. Maybe in ten years they'll give her one of her own movies. Not holding my breath.

Back to the Creature. We'll call him Creatch for short. The homely Eliza has a strict routine of hard boiling eggs while she masturbates furiously in her bathtub every morning. Eliza is fundamentally scared to death of normal men. She then brings the food to Creach, which she eventually falls in love with.

Creach is super duper intelligent and can instantly learn English, American sign language and writing, but likes to savagely dine on the occasional domesticated cat here and there. Right.

Creach also has super powers. He can almost instantly heal bodily wounds, as well as restore hair to a bald man. Alright, that one small bit I found pretty cool, but that's it.

Eliza eventually decides to kidnap Creach, for his own good, so she can turn him loose into the ocean just one step ahead of Russian Agents who have infiltrated the facility for the soul purpose of killing him. Again, not a very top-secret organization.

Shortly after that, Eliza and Creach begin having sex. That's right. An otherwise normal woman gets it on with a humanoid looking fish that looks like it dried out in the oven too long. Happens all the time I guess.

The two subplots involving a sadistic head of security and an alcoholic neighbor who works as a graphics artist are barely even worth mentioning.

And the ending? Beyond impossible.

This story is strictly reserved for the over-emotional, over-romantic, and completely naïve.

Go see it if you really want to, but you have been warned.
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2/10
Disappointing Twaddle
adamk-214 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This has absolutely so much going for it - beautifully filmed, with a magnificent, sweeping score and a stunning performance from Sally Hawkins - but crashes and burns in sentiment, cliché and cartoon supporting acts. It comes across, ultimately, as a cack-handed mash up of "E.T.", "Splash" and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon", as an aquatic man is captured and brought into a secret military American laboratory in the 1960s at the height of the cold war, and Sally Hawkins' mute cleaner develops a bond with it and, ultimately, falls in love.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? It certainly has potential, but if the sassy black friend, constantly yammering on about her feckless husband (Octavia Spencer, surely tiring of this kind of role) doesn't get you, or the inefficient gay neighbour/best friend (Richard Jenkins - not his finest two hours) or Michael Shannon's cartoonish, 2D villain, then stay tuned for the ghastly black-and-white fantasy dance number, in which Hawkins and the creature cavort on an elaborate set like Astaire and Rogers. It truly is a ghastly mis-step, jaw-droppingly stupid. The film never really recovered for me, and it lumbered to its predictable climax and ending with numbing melodramatics and sentiment.
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1/10
Really? Best picture oscar????
javier-913 April 2018
What a stupid story!!! Unbelivable!! I have no words!!! It could be a (bad) fairy tale for children if there were not sex scenes.
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1/10
OMG so awful.
celtic4518 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps the worst movie I've ever seen. The writing was awful, the idea was awful, the flow was awful. It was shot like a surreal farce with this candy cane music throughout that just made it even more unrealistic than it already was. If it isn't bizarre enough to be about a cleaning lady that falls in love with the creature from the black lagoon, then it got even worse. At one point she ends up dancing and singing with the creature in some kind of Broadway musical! What? Could never take any of is seriously and could never get into it not just because of the weird premise but because of surreal overall production and dialogue and goofy music. Awful.
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1/10
The Shape of Water is simply an aqua flop...
James_Denton3 April 2018
Perhaps the most baffling moment from the recent Oscar awards was not so much The Shape of Water being the most-nominated film during the night, but actually winning the following 4 categories:

  • Production Design
  • Original Score
  • Director
  • Best Picture
"Stranger things have happened" some say, but not that much stranger. I'm starting to think 'professional' film critics are taking leave of their senses lately, as they too also rave about this nonsensical, illogical and poorly conceived idea of a motion picture.

Mute girl falls in love with a non-speaking, semi-aggressive aqua-man whom the American government from the 1960's are keen to study for the usual purpose of national dominance.

With the exception of the rather unusual setting, there is really very little to like about it. Audiences will balk at the romance scenes between the two characters... and the only saving grace comes from Michael Shannon, who plays the government agent determined in finding out what they can from their captive.

One is simply left wondering... when this film was presented to those who make them, did no one say, "whoa.. slow down there a moment Tonto, this isn't a good idea."

.... well, judging by the baffling Oscars wins clearly not.
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6/10
Self-congratulatory and Gratuitous Despite Technical Triumph
OtherShipwrecks4 February 2018
Del Toro's gift for effective story-telling cannot be denied. However, the film plays perfectly into mainstream Hollywood sensibilities, does not have a profound artistic vision, and fails to challenge the audience in any meaningful way. It has the quintessential villain in the liberal cultural imagination today - a racist, sexist, ableist, psychopathic white man in the 60s. He lives in a bourgeois suburban neighborhood and has the quintessential white nuclear family. The fact that he is made to exhibit psychopathic behaviors is of course a way to obscure the irreducibly cultural, structural, and political conditions that the film purports to problematize. The equally cut-and-dry story is about people living at the margins of society bonding over their mutually subjugated status. The self-congratulatory moralistic undertone of this film suspends any need for serious cultural reflection. Shown to conservatives, the film is unlikely to have any converts to progressive politics. Shown to liberals, it will only confirm their pre-established identitarian convictions. Sprinkled with some gratuitous violence, it is the perfect candidate for the Oscars - a polished, glib, pandering, ostensibly radical fairy tale that ultimately does not have any enduring contribution to an already mediocre culture.
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1/10
Just one question
Jimmy Mo9 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Just one honest question. If you watched the film, just reverse the roles. Female creature and male dumb average looking guy. Do not change anything at all. I rest my case.

Now after the idea above, where how disgusted you will feel on the idea of a male masturbating man kidnapped a female fish girl, something about the film.

The film does takes you away from reality and as soon as you start enjoying the film the story slaps you on the face with something completely irrelevant and shock(still irrelevant). Over the top villain, the research, the stupidity ( if you think its a Russian spy who can stay in the water for so long and does not look like understand anything, just keep it in captivity), the finger , the overuse of painkillers where at one point the infection is so bad that he pulls the finger off but dont feel the pain, the waiting of the tide , instead of going directly to the nearest open sea they took him home, loves the humans but kills the cat( to my logic cat and human both are food for him), bath scene of holding water where water supply was more than the leak to fill the bathroom up temporarily, fishman sudden discovery of immense power and healing and converting a human to fishgirl but in lab just enough to bite off a finger? so means less than a dog, lead girl brainy enough the plan someone smuggle out of top secret lab but not enough to find a sea spot for him to immediately escape in open waters. Basically she was just a pervert who wanted the creature for her own pleasure but just couldn't get to it. At the end when she was shot, I felt happy and relieved. I even wanted him to carry on shooting to make sure she is dead. I could scream but not in anger or pain or intolerance but in disgust that films like this are rated above 7 somehow and when you watch it its no more than .75.
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1/10
Empty, shallow and cheap
guy-1959 April 2018
Kafka once wrote: "There is hope, but not for man...". If the sate of man is such that The Shape of Water receives an Oscar for 'Best Picture', then really, to me, all hope is lost.
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1/10
Absolute crap.
kalexander-7099325 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was really excited to watch this as I had heard it was at least nominated. Now all I wish is to have those two hours of my life back. I do agree that the movie had a very original story line, but I was disturbed and completely let down. The movie was very slow moving and boring. For the most part it was very predictable just like every other romantic movie. What disturbs me is this movie was meant to be set in a time where homosexuals and people of colour weren't accepted to society yet somehow, and this astounds me people were fully accepting with the fact that she falls in love and has sex with a fish! After finding out it won 4 awards i no longer trust that people know a good movie when they see one. Overall, it was a waste of my time and I would never recommend it to a friend, in fact I would only recommend NOT seeing it.
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1/10
The flaw of the year!
terranovamd-946114 April 2018
The more I try to find some kind of justifiable meaning and relevance, the more I find it a loopy, dull load of drivel.
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1/10
WORST MOVIE OF MY LIFETIME
fred_nothingimpossible16 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen tons of crap movies, believe me, but none of them is bad enough to make me register an account on IMDB just to write a review. But after watching this, I have the urge to express my utterly disgust. Thank you, Del Toro, for that, by the way.

The movie is simply stupid. The storyline is deeply flawed. The only thing the movie challenges the audience is our intelligence. Well i do not expect a Hitchcock movie, we can accept flaws here and there as long as it does not affect the story and fits the characters. But the movie is self contradicting and the characters behaviors are so bizarre it is just so intelligently insulting. So a cleaning lady can steal the "most valuable asset" from the "top secret facility" which is only guarded by on single soldier and does not even have a moving vehicle to chase after the invaders. They can just park the van downstairs for three or four days and no one thinks about looking for the van. Actually there is no one looking into this at all. From beginning to the end there is only the bad villain alone who is not doing anything but stay in the office and interrogate the cleaning ladies, only after 48 hours he thought about talk to the doctor who refused to kill the monster in the first place. Is this US military? It's easier than rob a bank. If i were Elisa, I'll go rob the Fed. But Elisa is not so smart, she made up the entire plan without thinking about how to unchain the fish dude without a key. And please what is the point of keeping the weaking, dying fish dude in ur home? Waiting to be discovered? Come on, Baltimore is by the sea!! There is literally a dock in the city center. Okay so you want to have sex with him, can you please do it at the back of the van on the way to Mexico? And the police ( ya, still no sign of military) showed up when the government officer died and they watched the suspect left? On and on i could go but i think you get the point.

Let's look at the characters, as a "romantic love" story, you did not explain to me how the lady fell in love with the fish dude? Are you telling me because she's a minority, and "he" is a minority, so the director thinks it needs no further explanation for her to fell in love with the fish? How did she overcome the fear of his monster looking? How did he understand her? Or it's just her sick, petty love makes her thinks he understands and loves her? There are many ways to show and build up the emotions but the director shows none at all! And is it just me that find it super weird that the lady did not show any form of gratitude, not even an attitude, to her friend at all? It's just so inhuman and fake.

The dialogue is also a disaster.Choppy and facetious, they tried to say something sounds smart and deep but actually just irrelevant and award. Like the "universe" thing coming from the general, what is that about? And there are so many random scenes that just make me question the ability of the director. What's the point of showing the doc realising the russian agents are plotting against him when in the end he stills shows up like there's nothing wrong??? Who cares about the villian buying a car from a random salesman(who seems to be the only smart man in the show) and not like talking when banging his wife? What is the point of all this?

As for the cinematography, esthetics effect, etc, there is nothing to talk about. I don't find it "touching" or "romantic" in any single way. The costume on the fish dude looks like just some random monster from a superhero movie, not even the carefully designed big boss, but those minions who are ready to be smashed by the HULK. I feel deeply disappointed that such a film could win the academy. So it has the elements of minority, LGBT, african americans, protecting the environment, evil russians and selfish government, so it must win??!

As a conclusion, i feel insulted by the director and the academy. Its winning lowered the average IQ of the entier Los Angeles.
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1/10
Really boring!
dantelerner22 March 2018
I don't find anything interesting in this movie. I know that most people love it but does it deserve 13 Oscar nominations? At least they only won 4. And the end is the most dissapointing part. Can anyone say that I'm wrong?
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2/10
Not worthy of an oscar
theresia-487845 March 2018
Heard the hype of it, watched it, and i was like wtf there goes the time i wont ever get back. Call me stupid but i dont get why this movie won a lot of awards. Weird storyline and ugh i have no comment. Just dont watch
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1/10
Overrated. Politically correct is all.
vivaciouscontent8 April 2018
Moral ambiguity. Challenging questions. Debate-sparking presentations. That's what Guillermo Del Toro was good at! None of that are in this film. The whole time, I felt as if I was watching a political propaganda about how one should treat minorities or people of a different race. Although I value such political positions, that was not why I wanted to watch a film! I wanted to watch, experience, and immerse myself into a work of art. Not a fleshed-out, philosophically vacuous, overrated, overinflated, oversaturated propaganda! As a result, although the visuals are striking in a Guillermo-esque fashion, the subtlety, the richness, and the cerebral philosophy of what was very much entrench in Guillermo's earlier works are all gone. Truly a pity.
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4/10
Wow, what a mess!
beanofdoom9 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Take E.T., mash it up with the aesthetic sentiments of Amelie, throw in a dash of The Artist, top it all off with some amazingly open-minded attitudes toward bestiality and you have The shape of Water.

Elisa Esposito is a cleaner at a government facility where top secret projects are kept. Her life is pretty hum-drum until one day she meets a creature from the deep at work and gives him an egg. She instantly falls in love with the beastie and talks her bestie Giles, an aging artist with relationship problems of his own, into helping her mount a rescue. Along the way she receives initially reluctant assistance from her workmate, Zelda, as well as the help of a kind-hearted Soviet spy named Dimitri.

Visually, the movie is quite nice, the soundtrack was also very well chosen, but as a story the film seemed not to be able to make up its mind exactly what it wanted to be. The romance was rushed and never really felt believable, the best friend neighbor was only likeable sometimes, it seemed to want to make some sort of a social statement about male culture in the 50s, but this was only given, at best a superficial treatment; it kept toying with the idea of becoming a musical right up until it sort of did in a number that seemed as out-of-place, awkward and forced as the romance between Esposito and the creature from the deep.

All in all I'd say that this would be one of those films to watch with friends some night for a laugh, but don't expect much more than unintended comedy, as it's otherwise an utter mess.
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3/10
You've got to be kidding me
terry-457-81354117 March 2018
Was anxiously awaiting viewing this "Oscar Winning Film". Where do I go to get these two hours of my life back. I found myself incapable of suspending reality this far. I found the entire ordeal mind numbing.
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1/10
A heartwarming story of bestiality
Vasilis Topouzis31 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This film shows the bravery of a sexually deprived (woman that she pleasures herself often on screen) on her quest to free and creature and mate with it. Yeah some people are saying that innocent people died on the process and the creature (that we supposed to feel that is a human-like) eats a cat, but so what, it is an epic tale of a woman to her exploration of bestialy and murder.
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1/10
Pure trash!
guillermoarriolae27 January 2018
An overrated piece of trash. Seriously I don't know why somebody thinks that this sad and creepy film is good even a masterpiece of a movie. People need to be more objective and not let anybody mess with your head (media, etc.) and let you think that depraved and dark histories are work of art. SAD and this is coming from a guy that lives in Mexico and can tell you that all of our latin hollywood directors take "artistic/intellectual" the same way...shocking the audience with awkward sex, social interaction and depressing scenery.
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3/10
Liberal do-gooders save amphibian humanoid from stereotyped right-wing martinets in this vastly overrated tale set in Cold War era
Turfseer1 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The Shape of Water is noted director Guillermo del Toro's vastly overrated attempt to link mythic fantasy to the Cold War era. The problem with the film is its absurd premise: there's a secret government facility in Baltimore which houses an amphibian humanoid captured earlier in the Amazon by bad guy Colonel Richard Strickland (a cartoon, right wing martinet adventurer) played by an over the top Michael Shannon.

Even if one accepts the premise (which I of course do not), you would think that security would be tight at the facility to ensure no unauthorized persons have access to the creature. Quite conveniently, however, the film's protagonist, the mute cleaning lady, Elisa (who communicates via sign language), is permitted to perform her cleaning duties inside the room where the newly minted "creature from the black lagoon" is imprisoned and easily ends up bonding with him (or it-which ever appellation you prefer!).

Elisa soon hatches a plan to save the creature from the dastardly clutches of Strickland, and Strickland's sponsor, another vile right wing martinet, General Frank Hoyt. Of course the more than noble Elisa is joined by friends and confederates, all again quite conveniently joined at the hip by distinct, commonly held LIBERAL convictions.

These associates include Elisa's best friend Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer in the familiar role as African-American "help" (will she ever be cast as the "bad guy" in any future films?), Giles, Elisa's neighbor, an artist and closeted gay, and a sympathetic scientist Dr. Robert Hoffstetler, who is actually a Soviet spy (note that Hoffstetler's superiors, are very much Strickland's counterparts, as they also evince a most unpleasant demeanor).

Elisa somehow ends up ferreting the creature out of the facility after she learns of Strickland's deadline to vivisect it, allegedly for scientific purposes. Back at her apartment, she keeps the creature alive in a tub filled with salt water. Once the river is at full tide, the plan is to remove the creature from the apartment and bring it to safety, in the watery refuge.

Meanwhile, the creature's dark side becomes slightly manifest when it attempts to take a bite out of a house cat (animal lovers do not despair: the creature is unsuccessful in significantly injuring the little kitty!). Giles is more than happy after it becomes apparent the creature has healing powers, touching Giles on his bald pate, and inducing some hair growth. And Elisa experiences pure bliss after discovering that the creature's genitalia is actually hidden and with a little coaxing, can actually engage in sexual intercourse (the act actually takes place in Elisa's bathroom, now completely flooded to the ceiling).

Strickland, about to be fired by General Hoyt following the creature's disappearance, remains frustrated by not being able to find the lost amphibian (you would have thought that maybe he could have figured it out earlier that Elisa was the number one suspect).

Strickland finally finds out from Zelda's terrified husband after unmercifully browbeating him, that Elisa is indeed the culprit who has sprung the creature from Strickland's deadly lair.

No need to describe the rest of the plot in detail. Suffice it to say, there is a confrontation with Strickland who shoots both our heroes, only to meet his own demise at the hands of the creature, who miraculously recovers from Strickland's bullet to the gut.

Elisa also revives (despite her wounds) and joins the creature in a blissful embrace underwater. How is this accomplished? Well, it seems Del Toro has kept his clues about Elisa's true nature from us all along. She's also some kind of long lost creature, and the wounds on the side of her neck, are actually gills-so she experiences some kind of re-awakening, again most conveniently while embracing her new found "king."

I actually have a friend who sees the denouement as some kind of Gnostic allegory. Of course anyone can read into this narrative, anything they want. But the fantasy element certainly seems way out of place with this Cold War tale which also has problems of its own, with its rather cheap triumph of liberal do-goodism over stereotypical right-wing demagoguery.
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1/10
Utter Rubbish
davidhill-9484113 January 2018
Beautifully filmed, excellent actors, great props and very expensive to make, so why didn't they make a really good Cold War movie instead of a totally lame one based on a crude B Movie monster in a cheap fishman wetsuit.

The result is an insult to the intelligence of a 5 year old let alone worthy of awards other than maybe cinematography. My advice, save your money and don't patronise lowbrow trash like this as it just seems to encourage Hollywood to further lows.
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8/10
Heart Shaped Box
southdavid23 April 2018
Really enjoyable and beautifully made, if slightly corny love story that could only have come from the mind of Guillermo Del Toro.

Mute cleaning lady Elisa (Sally Hawkins), works at a secretive Government facility at the height of the cold war. One day, an asset arrives at the lab, a merman dragged from the sea by his handler and now guard Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). As Strickland and the scientists attempt to gather information about the creature, Elisa secretly uncovers his intelligence and they form a bond. As their relationship deepens, the military decide that vivisection is the only option so Elisa, her neighbour and a reluctant scientist come up with a daring rescue plan.

Like so many of Del Toro's films, "The Shape Of Water" is, at heart, a dark violent fairy tale. Full of magic and wonder, its implausibility doesn't really stand up to a lot of scrutiny - but that's not the point. The film is about connection. Elisa struggles for connection as she is unable to talk, only her neighbour played by Richard Jenkins and her colleague Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer are able to understand her sign language. There's a credibility to her relationship with the creature that stems from this, although perhaps a few more scenes together would have helped sell the risk she takes to try and save him. Richard Jenkins character too is unable to make the connection that he wants in his life, as a gay man in the 1960's. He has presumably lost his job because of this, and risks the dangers of engaging with the much younger man who runs the local diner. Both Zelda and Strickland have unrewarding marriages, which feed into their desire to help or destroy the central couple.

Performances are universally excellent, but special praise must go to Sally Hawkins in what is a daring turn, if playing a Mute wasn't enough, Elisa is entirely naked in several scenes. Michael Shannon Strickland is closer to the thugs and psychopaths he's played previously, but he's still a magnetic presence whenever he's on screen.

The ending is potentially divisive, but Del Toro, seemingly aware that it might be, suggests that it's an interpretation. The other criticism of the plot is that it's pretty predictable.

It's not suitable for children at all, given the sexual content and violence scenes but adults willing to forgive a little contrivance will find much to admire.
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