Let me just begin this review by admitting that I have not seen much of Guillermo Del Toro’s work prior to this movie. Once I began to research his movies more, I realized that I have seen one other movie he directed- Pacific Rim. To me, the Shape of Water was slightly better than Pacific Rim, though not by much. If my first negative consensus here disagrees with you then I would suggest you back out of this review now. Just as a fair warning.
I’m not going to say that the movie is all terrible. It’s got a forbidden romance, a villain, and sidekicks who help the heroine along the way. But all the great plot devices in the world could not make me enjoy this movie. I guess my main issue was convincing myself that the beauty and the beast forbidden romance was even possible. I am meant to believe that the amphibious creature was capable of a loving relationship, both emotionally and physically. For some reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around this idea: maybe because the beauty and the beast weren’t animated, a la Disney?
I don’t want to take away from the main actress’ performance though- Sally Hawkins. She portrays a mute janitor. This is not an easy role, as the character cannot express her feelings and thoughts in words, only with her facial reactions and sign language. Sally Hawkins does a good job of this.
I also want to give kudos to Michael Shannon- the film’s villain. All he would have to do is stare at me with those intense gazes and I would give up all the information he wanted- forget when he actually speaks. The man is intense.
This movie is shaping up to be the award season’s darling I think- especially with the Best Director category. Again, please don’t take this review as the final word on this movie. If you enjoy Del Toro’s other works, then you will probably enjoy this movie as well.
My final take: 1 reel out of 5.