Rent The Shape of Water (2017)

3.5 of 5 from 1495 ratings
1h 58min
Rent The Shape of Water (aka Cold War Project) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes 'The Shape of Water', an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1962. In the hidden, high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.
Actors:
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Directors:
Producers:
J. Miles Dale, Guillermo Del Toro
Voiced By:
Alison Brooks, Tim Campbell, Maria Del Mar, Guillermo Del Toro, Zabryna Guevara, Lisa Norton, Maurice Dean Wint, Jim Watson
Writers:
Guillermo Del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Others:
Christian Cooke, J. Miles Dale, Mike Hill, Alexandre Desplat, Kevin Scott, Shane Vieau, Dan Laustsen, Luis Sequeira, Sidney Wolinsky, Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira, Glen Gauthier, Brad Zoern, Dennis Berardi, Trey Harrell, Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin
Aka:
Cold War Project
Studio:
20th Century Fox
Genres:
Action & Adventure, Top 100 Films, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Awards:

2018 BAFTA Best Production Design

2018 BAFTA Best Music

2018 BAFTA Best Direction

2018 Oscar Best Picture

2018 Oscar Best Director

2018 Oscar Best Production Design

2018 Oscar Best Music Original Score

2017 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion

BBFC:
Release Date:
25/06/2018
Run Time:
118 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
English, English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Bonus:
  • A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times
  • Theatrical Trailers
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/06/2018
Run Time:
118 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
English, English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Bonus:
  • A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times
  • Anatomy of a Scene: Prologue
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Dance
  • Shaping the Waves: A Conversation with Artist James Jean
  • Guillermo del Toro's Master Class
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/06/2018
Run Time:
118 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
English, English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing

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Reviews (39) of The Shape of Water

Spoilers ... - The Shape of Water review by NP

Michael Shannon, who starred recently in the terrific ‘Can’t Come Out to Play (2013)’ plays Richard Strickland, gammy-handed Colonel in charge of studying ‘the asset’, a lone fish-creature held in captivity by the US government. Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, a mute woman who, alongside Zelda (Octavia Spencer) works as a cleaner for the project. Her next door neighbour is Giles, struggling homosexual artist (Richard Jenkins, Chicory from 2015’s ‘Bone Tomahawk’). I mention his sexuality, because alongside Elisa and African-American Zelda, these people are somewhat outcast in Baltimore, 1962, where this film is set. All except Strickland, of course, who is fully accepted and acceptable, a respectable military man – cruel, arrogant and ‘decent’: apart from his injured hand, of course.

Strickland was bitten by the humanoid amphibian creature known as ‘the asset’, in this acclaimed Guillermo del Toro directed (and co-written) partial reimagining of ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon.’ It is hugely cinematic, beautifully shot, exquisitely acted and in places, strangely moving in the way that monster/human love affairs have occasionally been over the decades. Unfortunately, the sentimentality goes overboard on a number of occasions and squashes the appeal of the fragile relationship between the unappreciated mute girl and the abused creature.

Satisfyingly though, there is no doubt that the ‘system’, the ‘establishment’ is entirely corrupt and that the higher up the proverbial ladder, the more brazenly deceitful the officials have become. As in the best traditions of horror, the unsightly creature is the one we all route for, whilst those who have given themselves the responsibility of hierarchy are, to quote Doctor Who, decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. And how do our heroes attempt to thwart the nastiness around them? They escape, they run away. Ah, would that we could all do that …

This is a terrific and typical del Torro fairytale, child-like and affecting, with only the occasional sex-scene or moment of graphic horror violence to make the children audience members wince. It’s a long ‘un at just over two hours, but such is the spectacle, it never outstays its welcome. Lovely.

7 out of 9 members found this review helpful.

Unexpectedly brilliant Mermain/monster movei hokum romance with great acting and music - The Shape of Water review by PV

I honestly did not expect to like this movie much. The concept sounded absurd - and it is!

However, this soon drew me in. With a brilliantly told story, strong characters, great acting and a wonderful soundtrack.

There are surprising moments and the ending satisfies.

For once the Oscar committee chose the right winner!

Brilliant stuff.

3 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

No Way!!! - The Shape of Water review by CW

Oscar winner, best film 2018....you’re having a laugh. Don’t be so silly.

Apart from Michael Shannon, great performance, and the theme music, perhaps, there’s not a lot to get excited about here.

I’m a big fans of Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky, and it’s sad that she made the journey to star in this sorry tale.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Shape of Water (aka Cold War Project) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Guillermo del Toro deserves a lot of credit as a genre director that can immerse the viewer so deep into his world that we find ourselves invested in its characters and beauty. Consider the premise of The Shape of Water, a bloody romance between a mute woman and a fish monster that connect mentally and sexually. To describe the film in such a way may conjure up hilarity for the visual or eye-rolling for taking the absurdity seriously. And yet del Toro is able to achieve the seemingly impossible, crafting a touching tale of romantic monster love where a woman gets freaky with a scaley creature.

Another pleasing aspect is how del Toro can play with visuals so well. When we first see the apartment of our protagonist, it’s staged in such a way that you’d believe it took place in France or Italy before she exits the building to reveal she lives in Baltimore during the Cold War. The apartment belongs to Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), a mute that works on the janitorial staff of a secret government laboratory. While mopping up some blood and a finger, she discovers a prisoner of the lab; a humanoid amphibian played the always-a-monster actor Doug Jones. He doesn’t speak but that’s okay. They seem to connect just fine over eggs and jazz. It isn’t long before love blooms, an escape is hatched and a weird love scene happens in her bathtub.

Much like Guillermo del Toro’s previous films, The Shape of Water dances around blending genres, fusing a monster romance with a bigotry allegory, brutal displays of blood, and a spy picture. Sometimes it’s a monster movies with a classicly creepy soundtrack that fits the era. Sometimes it's a terrifying horror film, complete with a finger dug into a bullet wound. And sometimes it’s a genuine tale of empathy and understanding, where the kindly and closeted gay next-door neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) can relate to Sally and her relationship with a boyfriend that lives in her bathroom.

Chasing the monster is the sinister Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), embodying the darker aspects of the American dream that snarls and gnashes against anyone who goes against him. He favors a heavy sense of patriotism and family values that seem threatened as much as he was by the monster, leaving him with a gross wound that only gets worse. Octavia Spencer does a superb job as Elisa’s best friend who can do all the dishing and giggle for her while giving a firmer swat to be confident. Michael Stuhlbarg plays a Russian spy that also learns some empathy as his mission quickly turns form infiltration to one of love.

While The Shape of Water is very unorthodox and entertaining in its own genuine and weird ways, it’s far from Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece. While del Toro tends to have a firmer hand with genre-splicing, he plays a little bit too loose with the material here that bounces into almost cartoonish territory. Michael Shannon, in his usual fashion, plays a villain so over-the-top that I almost expected him to froth at the mouth as he bitterly points a gun into the face of Octavia Spender. Richard Jenkins does an ample job of weaving his homosexuality into the narrative, but I couldn’t help feel he connected better with the monster, considering an infatuation he has with a diner waiter goes south quick. I’ve also heard tell from gay acquaintances that no gay man would be so forgiving of a monster that ate one of their cats.

Despite the highest praise of the movie winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, pushing the appeal of the film into the overrated category, I ultimately dug The Shape of Water for the experience and del Toro’s never-fail visuals. The shot of a naked Hawkins and a creature-suited Jones copulating in a flooded bathroom is a dazzling sight, so beautiful and engaging that I never found myself questioning how a makeshift aquarium in an apartment could stay so stable. There’s also a daringness with a script not afraid to talk about monster penises and racist figures, to such a bold degree for pushing up the audacity of the picture. Whatever unevenness present is balanced by a fearlessness, one that makes the odd romance all the more fun.

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