This afternoon I went to see this year's Oscar winning motion picture, "The Shape of Water", and, in my opinion, it deserves the many awards that it has won.
(image from the web)
I have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of science fiction or fantasy films. However, director Guillermo del Toro's work first came to my attention with his 2006, Spanish language movie, "Pan's Labyrinth". The picture deftly combines the brutal reality of post-Civil War Spain with mythological fantasy. I then saw an earlier work of del Toro, also in Spanish, "The Devil's Backbone". It is a ghost story set in an isolated orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. I actually liked that film even more than "Pan's Labyrinth".
I had no interest in the mainstream action / comic book films that del Toro made, such as "Hellboy" or "Pacific Rim". However, it seemed that "The Shape of Water" would be a return to his previous intriguing work. For those who have not seen the movie, I will not give away too much of the storyline. But I think that everyone knows that it is the bizarre romance between a mute woman and a man-like, amphibious creature. Elisa is a cleaning lady in a top secret government laboratory during the Cold War. It is there that she meets the creature who was discovered in a South American river. It is definitely an outrageously weird story that in less capable hands could have been a laughable mess. But del Toro expertly crafts a moving, mesmerizing movie. The acting is superb. Sally Hawkins, who plays the cleaning lady, says not a word, yet conveys, just with her eyes, so much emotion. Octavia Spencer, who plays Elisa's co-worker and friend, and Richard Jenkins, who plays her closeted neighbor, both stand out among the excellent cast. I have not yet seen all the nominees for Best Picture. Most of them look very interesting. However, I doubt if any of them can quite equal "The Shape of Water".