The Shape of Water (2017) Poster

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Many people misunderstood this movie! There is a twist in the story!
TheKing8717 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was very skeptical about this movie from the very beginning, because I thought that this would probably be a dumb monster movie with a similar theme like "Beauty and the Beast". However, I was very surprised when I saw the movie and think that it was brilliant!

After reading the reviews on this site, it is my understanding that many people that saw this move completely misunderstood it, both the people that loved it and the ones who hated it.

The theme of the movie is not something similar to Beauty and the Beast for those who might think that!

There are several themes in this movie, but the overall theme is about minorities and how privileged people view those who are different. However to make this message more clear the movie is set in the 1960's, where minorities were generally marginalized.

The lead character Elisa Esposito is a mute woman, who was an orphaned child that was found in a river with wounds on her neck and communicates through sign language. She works in a government laboratory as a cleaning lady. Her friends are her co-worker Zelda, a black woman who serves as an interpreter for Elisa, and her next-door neighbor Giles, a closeted gay man. Elisa discovers a mysterious creature in the facility and begins to bond with it. The creature is a mute humanoid amphibian that was captured in a river in South America by Strickland, who is in charge of the project to study it.

Elisa is the main protagonist in this story, and together with Zelda and Giles, they represent a social minority. Women, handicapped people, black people and gay people are all amongst those that were outcast by society at the time. On the other hand, there is Strickland who is the main antagonist in the story and he represents the privileged people at the time. He is a white man in a privileged position, married with children, religious, and is hostile to those who are not like him. He treats the creature hostilely, beats and abuses it, and calls it a monster.

When Elisa learns that Strickland plans to vivisect the creature, she hatches a plan with the help of her friends to free the creature and keeping it in a bathtub at her apartment and planning to set it free in the ocean. Elisa and the creature bond romantically and it is revealed that the creature has healing powers.

When the day arrives to set the creature free, Strickland arrives and shoots Elisa and the creature. The creature heals itself and kills Strickland. The creature takes Elisa and jumps into the ocean where it heals her. When the creature applies his healing touch to the scars on her neck, she starts to breathe through gills.

Here is the TWIST: This scene reveals that Elisa was of the same kind as the creature all along. She just had a more human like form than the creature. There are different clues throughout the film. She was found as child next to a river like the creature. She was found with the "scars" on her neck and they turned out to be dormant gills as the creature healed her. She was mute like the creature. She loved being in water as shown in her morning habits. She was initially attracted to the creature whereas most people would fear it. She comes from a Spanish speaking country, as her last name is Spanish whereas the creature was found in a river in South America.

The creature itself and Elisa represent a minority, as they are alike. The fact that the creature is different yet human like, symbolizes how privileged people viewed minorities at the time. The point of the monster is simply to symbolize how we sometimes view other people that are different from us.

The message of the story is this: You view other people that are different from yourself as "monsters" if you don't try to understand them. However, if you try to understand people who are different from yourself, then you will see that we are basically all alike even though we look different.

I think this movie was brilliant and very clever. Guillermo Del Toro did a great job. It is definitely a movie worth watching.

This is my point of view and I hope that you found this helpful.
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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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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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One of the worst best picture winners!
JPG778922 June 2019
So determined is Del Toro to keep his happy ending that he forces the film into a narrative structure that is both cliched and unimaginative. The 1960s setting might have served for an interesting back drop for Del Toro to explore social issues, but it's script is so on the nose, his characters so dull and formulaic, that it waters down any meaningful message.
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The Shape of Garbage
crazymanmichael12 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was prepared to like this film. Hell, I WANTED to like it, seriously. Based on his previous work, I thought Del Toro a filmmaker with some chops (although now I'm not so sure...) and really, I had some expectations for this newest piece of his.

It started well: the sets had this kind of baroque, Gilliam-esque density and muted palette that gave the film a certain visual appeal and tone. Twenty minutes in I was thinking, "Okay... it's not as good as I hoped, but maybe it'll pull itself together..." By the end of the first hour I was wondering if I could make it to the finish without hurling something at the screen. But the thing is, I always hold out this forlorn hope that somehow, against all odds, at the finale the movie will redeem itself, explain away the vacuous plot holes, hackneyed acting and ridiculous, cliché ridden dialog, and make SOME kind of sense. Sadly, this was not to be the case. This film was awful right through to the credits.

I really would like to have a conversation with someone who adored this film. I would like to ask them how they managed to get past all of the elements in this film that annoyed and, quite frankly, insulted me as a viewer: the stock, cliched characters, the utterly egregious plot holes, the cringe-worthy dialog ("You ARE a god!" Eek.), and the fact that our central character, a guy in a rubber fish suit, looked to me exactly like... a guy in a rubber fish suit. For pity's sake, it wasn't even consistent from scene to scene! Did they LOSE some pieces of the suit during filming?? Hell, you could even SEE the seams in some shots!

Okay, just for fun (sarcasm alert) let's look at a couple the more obvious plot holes:

So, apparently we can't release fish-guy back into the ocean because the flood gate at the end of the canal is closed. Explain to me: what's the problem with driving an extra 400 yards to the other side of the gate? Do you seriously expect me to believe that this canal is the ONLY access to the ocean within driving distance? Come ON...

After the great escape (though machinations so absurdly improbable I'm not even going to dignify them with a comment), our well-intentioned heroine decides to keep fish-guy happy (oh, and have sex, too, apparently. Right...) by flooding her entire bathroom with water Does anyone seriously believe that the upper floor of an old building like that could even come CLOSE to handling that kind of mass without a catastrophic structural failure? I'm sorry, but that is simply impossible. Period. Assuming the room is about 10 by 10 (likely bigger), that comes to nearly 50 thousand pounds of water, or 25 tons. In reality, it wouldn't just leak down into the audience below; the entire room, water, floor, walls, bathroom fixtures and everything else, would come crashing down onto the moviegoers, killing or injuring at least a dozen. But that wouldn't make for a charming, romantic movie, would it?

I expect some people are reading the above and thinking, "Oh come on! It's a fantasy; stop being so literal." Nope. Sorry, I disagree. If you place a fantasy in a fantasy world then fine, you can write your own rules, create your own reality, the sky's the limit. But if you place your fantasy in the REAL WORLD, then you have to abide by real-world rules. You can't pick and choose what parts of reality to accept and what to cast aside because it's inconvenient. To do so just lazy writing, and this film is rife with it.

I could go on, but really, what's the point? And frankly, I would very much like to put this horrible experience behind me, thank you very much. I have to admit that Sally Hawkins (as Elisa, the mute cleaning lady lead) did a decent job with a shallowly written character. Also, the ubiquitous permeation of cold war paranoia in the 60's was decently captured. But I fail to see how Richard Jenkins, a character actor I admire, could allow himself to be drawn into this mess, especially given his cliched, stock character of the lonely, closeted gay man (if you're going to insert an LGBTQ character into a film, could you not at least make him/her interesting?)

Suffice to say, I have not had any respect for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since the execrable "Oliver!" won best picture way back in 1968. This film and its woefully misplaced accolades does nothing to change that opinion.
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What on earth!!!! What on water???
Richyb13 April 2019
It's one of these films that gives these elitist arty types platform to say "You small people are too stupid to understand this"

No - the film is stupid!
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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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Are you kidding me?
scottdnorman23 January 2019
This movie sucks- the Academy must be on drugs to give this an award
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vaszilia23 April 2019
One of the worst movies I ever seen. It tries to be special but it's just lack of any good taste..
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Dont waste your time
Nina_Beck31 May 2019
All the bad reviews here are true. Will just add... why couldn't they at least hire actors who can speak proper Russian? This is a big joke: he grabbed so much money for the movie,yet gave nothing in return. The story is unoriginal and relies on all possible stereotypes.
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Waste of 2 hours!
lisanwb6 January 2019
So like many people they do their first review on something that absolutely sucks! I am lost for words as to why this won oscars and had so much hype.
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Oscar for best movie??? Really??? Wtf!?
dradelazifceac1 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It's difficult to explain how bad this movie is. Do not waste your time.

A mute cleaning lady falls in love with a half human - half fish that eats cats.

The bad army guys want to kill him

She kidnaps/saves him from a super guarded army laboratory. Actually it's the mute cleaning lady, her gay older friend and another cleaning lady, the team that put the army to shame.

Than she takes him to her apartement and keeps him in the bathroom. She fills the entire bathroom with water so she can sleep with him, but the water floods the cinema below her apartement.

An so on....

The bad guys are 100% bad. Nothing good about them.

The good guys are 100% good.

The russians are obviously bad.

There is also a gay person, a colored person just to make everything politically correct.

0 (zeri) stars.
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The heart-warming story of a woman.
iwtbf24 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
What a beautiful story, you have a deaf woman who we see pleasing herself, that one day she discovers a sea beast, and she decides to do anything in her power (even 'kill' and let other people die) in order to get it to her apartment and have an intimate moment with it (repeatedly) eventually the loving sea best amphibian after many scenes of: 'we are all creatures of this world, and you are not different from us the humans' eats the head of a cat, but oh well things happens and then some more intimacy moments between the mute and the amphibian, and then more deaths of innocent people and people with families, but most important thing to keep in mind is: Some people find love even in something disgusting like this.
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The most overrated movie of all time
carlvan197720 February 2019
I'm not sure if I should call this garbage a movie in the first place.

How this junk got 4 oscars is beyond me.When people see 4 academy awards they deceive themselves into believing this is a a great movie and that maybe if they didn't like it, something is wrong with their taste so they convince themselves that it's good. Nothing's wrong with your taste The movie is Horrible from beginning to end. Save yourself the time and don't watch this piece of crap.
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The Sad Shape of Moviemaking
lbenot22 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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Utter Garbage
shadycady29 January 2019
One of the worst films that I have ever seen in my life. I absolutely loathed it.
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Really bad
jonasclaesson-566898 June 2019
Could be one of the worst movies that I actually watched all the way to the end.
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Waste of time
bernadettemcgee21 January 2019
I really tried to give it a chance and watched the whole movie even though I was tempted numerous times to turn it off and in the end I was even more annoyed that I started watching it in the first place
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The most empty film of the decade
jymcom19 April 2019
The most empty film of the decade. All the stupidity of the world is there, bad soldiers, good monster and nice dumb woman. Only the image (color changes) is interesting but everything else is to throw and stupidly caricatural. You could tell me that it was awarded the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director in 2018, but there is an explanation for this (but do not repeat it): there are a lot of very stupid people in this world and this film is a proof of this.
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A mute girl puts up with fake/narcissistic people. No other content.
mike-c-b8 April 2020
It's artistic if you take still shots, but as a movie there is nothing there.

A relatively normal, intelligent, mute girl basically lives her life putting up with horrible people while still keeping her soul. Even the characters that are supposedly "friendly" are fake/narcissistic as well.

So as the viewer you have to put up with all that as well.
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BiiivAL5 June 2018
As the director of the highest class, Guillermo del Toro showed himself at the beginning of his career when he happened to put a charming Chronos and truly frightening "Mutants", which allowed the Mexican master to gain a foothold on American soil and continue further creative research. Each film del Toro, whether it be frightening mysticism, horror or screen adaptation of a graphic novella, has a powerful emotional charge, profound reasoning and breaking any barriers by the power of love, to which the director has a special relationship. Invariably putting his hand to writing the script, the director does everything necessary for the veil of special effects to reveal the true feelings between intelligent creatures who understand the true value of relations between loved ones. For del Toro, it is not important what kind of love grows in his paintings. It can permeate the relationship of a man and a woman, or vice versa, have a strong kinship. Value has only a manifestation of its essence in all sensual beauty. And then even the most impenetrable gloom retreats to the side, leaving only light on the review, which it is not possible to overcome other feelings. "Hellboy", "Labyrinth of the Faun", "Crimson Peak" and other author's achievements del Toro always attracted special attention from the audience. When the director could bypass the intrusive attention of producers, a truly unforgettable show comes from under his hands. The same is the "Form of water", a rich, catchy and at the same time delicate work that keeps us in suspense until the very end.

So, the plot of the film unfolds in the early 60s of the last century and introduces us to the silent cleaning lady Eliza Ezpozito (Sally Hawkins), who managed to get a job in a secret government laboratory. Having found herself far from the city noise and a society that she can not accept the way she is, Sally is sitting out at work all day long and tries to do everything necessary to avoid paying too much attention to her. And let the work with the mop and buckets do not bring her special pleasure, the heroine finds time to delve into her own thoughts and create in the imagination a wonderful world in which no one else can penetrate her. Having no close friends, much less a lover, Eliza tries to look for joy in sheer little things and for a long time nothing foreshadowed the rapid development in her personal relationships, when suddenly the girl seems to know the most important secret around which the secret laboratory's activities are built. It turns out that under the care of the sinister Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) is a sensible amphibian (Doug Jones), an unknown creature trapped in a closed reservoir and amenable to constant experiments. Accidentally meeting with the marvelous creature with a glance, Eliza suddenly realizes that this meeting is far from accidental and it is quite possible that a feeling arises between it and the amphibian, which can not be designated otherwise than love. And when it becomes known that the underwater guest faces a deadly danger, Eliza will not sit aside, since for the first time in her life she has found a soul mate and is ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of her salvation. "The shape of the water", undoubtedly, stands out with special importance against the background of the other works of Del Toro, since it was born at the moment when its creator had already visited the peak of universal adoration, and then dabbed the reputation with ambiguous projects and decisions that called doubts. But for all his creative mistakes Del Toro not only did not lower his hands, but became only a more perspicacious and skilful creator, who with each new work is put more inspired and restless. Seeing us in the world of brutal servicemen, unfortunate cleaners and innocent magical creatures, the master used the motifs of classical drama and tragedy, surprised with serious emotional strokes and was not afraid to demonstrate strong feelings with all the staging power that not only amazes but also frightens, Like a real horror film. And in order for all the elements of the "Formula of Water" to converge, Del Toro needed exceptional actors, able to revive his characters and create experiences that would not have to be doubted. Fortunately, his idea interested only in respectable performers who could easily abandon a large fee in favor of serving the arts.

Sally Hawkins, the confident and sought-after actress, who rarely trusts roles in big blockbusters, of course, became the soul of this film, but her talent and ability to get used to the images gradually becomes legendary. Agreeing to embody Del Toro's fantasies in life, Hawkins played a strikingly sensual role that attracts maximum attention and makes her soul sympathize with the tragedy of the unhappy girl's relationship with a creature from a different world. In turn, a good friend of the director, Doug Jones, was no less brilliant party to match Hawkins, and thereby allowed the actress to reveal the full range of dramatic experiences through the impeccable performance of the image of an amphibian man who caused in a dumb beauty a storm of unprecedented emotions for her. For obvious reasons, we again do not see the true appearance of Jones, but he has repeatedly performed in front of the camera a variety of strange creatures and in the "Formula of Water" reached the apogee of skill, after which it will be difficult for him to play a piercing role.

In the end, I want to say that the "Form of Water" tells us a love story that is simple and yet unprecedentedly beautiful and soulful. Guillermo del Toro shot the film the way he himself wanted and thanks to this "Form of Water" looks like a really chic authoring film.
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Stupid nonsense for 30-years old kids
ag-xirurg13 August 2020
Very simple and predictable. Very "black and white" (this is a good guy, this is a bad guy, etc.). And sex scenes are disgusting (if this sea creature somehow looks good for you, just imagine very clever ape in its place or some other animal). Oscar? Lots of mediocre films get Oscars these days. The picture is good, but if you have no story - what the point?
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Overrated, Non Sense
sahawnehdaniel12 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A woman in love with a fish .. what message this movie is trying to send? any form of weird relationships is Okay? I have no idea how this movie got so much awards
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Just plain bad
matt-16-3252916 July 2019
How did anyone enjoy this boring, overrated piece of garbage?
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stanislaojones22 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
After watching the first 20 - 30 minutes, I found myself thinking, I'm bored. But, i thought it's got to get better, so to be objective, I stuck with it. Which is really unusual for me. Anyway, thinking that the protagonists in the film would eventually get their comeuppance when the creature was smuggled out. But the usual happened. I don't mind violent films, as long as the violence is in context. But I am sick to death of crappy writing etc, that has to have this creature kill/eat the neighbours cat! Really? Is that the best you can do? Any pet that has to be killed in a film is gratuitous violence. Rip the bad guy's head off, fine. But an innocent animal. Crap and rubbish. Turned it off and won't be revisiting this boring rubbish again. So if you'd rather watch paint dry and a cat get it head eaten, then this one's for you.
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