Imagine “Beauty and the Beast,” except a live-action version with darker themes and no magical beast-to-human transformation at the end (that we know of). That’s Guillermo del Toro’s new film “The Shape of Water.”
“The Shape of Water” features many fairy tale elements, but with mature twists along the way. The film is about a woman who falls in love with (and has sex with) an anthropomorphic fish. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself “How could this possibly be a good movie?” But remember, it’s has been written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.
If you’re unfamiliar with his work, del Toro is known for his whimsical and absurd films, such as “Pan’s Labyrinth,” that often teeter the line of being “too weird,” but do so in a way that the plot still provides deep messages and social commentary through heavy symbolism as well as manipulation of cinematographic elements.
With any other director, “The Shape of Water” would be a tough sell, but with del Toro, you can expect beauty and commentary on the human condition within the package of a bizarre plot.
For a little bit more context, “The Shape of Water” is about an isolated, mute janitor named Elisa (portrayed by Sally Hawkins) who works at a government laboratory in Baltimore, MD, during the Cold War. While working, she encounters a fish-man referred to as “the asset” who is part of a classified experiment undergone by the lab. The film captures Elisa and the fish’s meeting and they’re eventual fall into love, as well as the repercussions that come from their relationship. While bestiality is definitely not encouraged, “The Shape of Water” presents a scenario in which you want to root for Elisa and the fish. The way that Elisa and the fish’s relationship manifests feels natural and genuine.
In the case of this film, seeing and experiencing is more effective than simply reading about it. The combination of the plot and the cinematography and music create a mystical, fantastical atmosphere amidst the dark themes and violence. There are two official trailers released that provide a taste of the film’s plot as well as del Toro’s style in film-making.
“The Shape of Water” is coming out to U.S. theaters on December 8, 2017.