Guillermo Del Toro’s latest monster masterpiece, “The Shape of Water”, tells the story of a mute woman working on a secret military base who makes an emotional connection with an amphibious creature.
This is a suitably bizarre synopsis for a movie which tackles human problems such as love and individuality, and there’s nobody better equipped than Del Toro to tell such a curious tale.
From the moment this film starts to the second that it ends Del Toro creates a visual feast, with creature design and make-up which is second to none. The world, whilst confined to just a few locations, feels lived-in and the characters are relatable despite their exaggerated natures.
At a Screen Talk after the film Del Toro explained that he wanted to create a love story in which a woman falling in love with a creature was ‘just a fact’, rather than the point of the narrative. He recalled that as a child he couldn’t understand why the creature from the Black Lagoon didn’t end up with the damsel, and he stated that films such as “Beauty and the Beast” are flawed because change shouldn’t be required to facilitate love.
‘Love, like water, has no shape’, he explained, and this is the essence of his latest monster movie.
Overall, “The Shape of Water” is a life-affirming film which tackles familiar themes such as the ability of love to conquer all things, but it does so in a refreshingly abstract way. Del Toro uses fantasy to tackle human stories and by doing so he’s able to make unique movies – “The Shape of Water” is no exception and whilst it isn’t perfect it’s held together by a number of powerful performances, a wonderful message, and accomplished cinematography.