Hola Dannie aqui,
Well, now that the embargo on writing reviews has been lifted I finally get to share my thoughts on Guillermo del Toro's most recent cinematic gem "The Shape of Water." I had the pleasure of attending a screening last Monday and have been bursting at the seams wanting to talk about it, so here it goes...
"The Shape of Water" is the perfect date film, at least for a girl like me. I have grown up my entire life obsessed with new and classic movie monsters, sideshow performers, politics, and musicals. Emotionally this film delivers on every fucking level. It is a beautiful fairytale woven together in a ballet of violence, mystique, and wonder.
It had a love for cinema and music stitched throughout the fabric of the film, immediately upon returning home I purchased the soundtrack. The music is masterfully used, songs in many different languages, I believe a commentary on communication. The use specifically of two songs the first of which is "La Javanaise" – performed by Madeleine Peyroux was written by the master artist/musician Serge Gainsbourg. There is a great movie about him that also stars Doug Jones entitled "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" from 2010 it is one of my favorite pieces of artistic inspiration, this song combined with what takes place on the screen in "The Shape of Water" made my heart all aglow. The second song was "You’ll Never Know" (feat. Renée Fleming) this song and scene broke my heart. They also used the culty favorite Carmen Miranda's classic hit "Chica Chica Boom Chic" all in all musically this was an international adventure, with witty, shy comedic moments with del Toro's darkness and grit sprinkled on just perfectly to achieve greatness cinematically.
Reminiscent of the French hit "Amelie" as well as Woody Allens "The Sweet and Low Down" meets the darkness of "Creature of the Black Lagoon," "Beauty and the Beast," "Pans Labyrinth," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Its as if you took all that is tragically wrong with humanity and juxtaposed it next to all that is pure and beautiful.
The performances, well let us start with Sally Hawkins who plays the role of the fierce, but dainty musical mute Elisa Esposito. Well, she captured my heart within the first tap dancing scene with her artist neighbor 'Giles' played by veteran actor Richard Jenkins. Sally Hawkins acting range is truly explored thoroughly in this film, wow she was out-fucking-standing. Mr. Jenkins kept the del Toro bar up high for the paternal partner in crime figure badassery. Doug Jones, well he made me fall in love with a matador-like fish-man, just as he has done in the past, so no surprise he is amazing and so is the makeup and effects team that surround him. The character Elisa Esposito's closest friend at work 'Zelda Fuller' is masterfully played by actress Octavia Spencer and seeing as the film takes place in the early 1960's racism, sexism, and homophobia are all tackled by the above-mentioned characters.
Now for the real monster of the film the villian character 'Richard Strickland' portrayed by the always intense actor Michael Shannon. Wow, whenever he is onscreen it is this walking on eggshell type atmosphere, the moment you are first introduced to him you are disgusted, and as a woman looked down upon, his character is a racist, sexist, evil evil evil man! I am trying my best to not give away any spoilers... EEk, it is hard! But yeah, this performance was intimidating as all hell, you believed his sense of superiority, disgust, and hatred.
This film was a gorgeous galavant through Guillermo del Toro's big beautiful heart. The cinematography was gorgeous; the acting was superb. I have zero complaints about this film. Un gran trabajo Gordo Mexicano! And everyone involved should be beaming with pride. I laughed, cried, cringed, and fell in love.
This film will have a permanent home in my little dark heart, the whimsy colliding with the obvious social stupidity that many still, unfortunately, can empathize with still today. The film embraces those who were just born different and vilify the military industrial complex across many borders.
"The Shape of Water" is an exquisitely made film, I can not recommend it enough. If you have a heart this film will fill it to the brim, with all the myriad of emotions it is capable of feeling. The film has everything we long for and more from del Toro. I will be seeing it again this weekend, and have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I can not say enough positive about this beautiful film without spouting spoilers!
I will just say, I love this film with every fiber of my being and hope you all go see it and experience its fantastical nature. I would love to live in del Toros head; he is a talented mad genius and one of the few celebrities that truly I love, when he has a project with Doug Jones I am always excited.
Also, on a personal note, I grew up with a speech impediment and was in speech therapy from kindergarten until eighth grade, anyone who knows me knows I was a very silent child unless I was singing which I never stuttered during. I feel that this film will be a favorite for those like me that found or find communicating difficult, this film hit me like a ton of bricks being sledgehammered by the Punisher!
Stay Strong, Live Good, Love Movies!
Dannie aka Pekosa Peligrosa