Mexican countryside

Mexican countryside

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Deservedly a Winner


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".      

6 comments:

  1. Interspecies love, the final taboo, has now been broken. Is this a dastardly, piscean, slippery slope? Or just a fun romp in the waves?

    Maybe I'll have to see it.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where there's a major river just behind the house.

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    1. There is no denying that it is a strange story, and it's definitely not for the children. (Ironically, the most explicit and gratuitous sex scene was between the government agent and his wife. Perhaps the director was contrasting their animal-like rutting with the tender scene between Elisa and her amphibian-man.) Very few people would have been able to pull this off. But between del Toro's gift for story-telling and direction, and the fantastic acting, it is a great movie.

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    2. Kim, you must see this movie!! LOL

      As Bill said, it IS a strange story, but Elisa and the amphibious "man" make a delightful couple!!

      Personally I would probably call it a romp in the waves! :o)

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  2. Del Toro, when given free reign like he was here and in "Pan's Labyrinth," is an enormously talented filmmaker. He was Peter Jackson's first choice to direct "The Hobbit," and I would have loved to have seen his take on that material.

    I liked "The Shape of Water," and found it an interesting mash-up of "Mad Men," "Swamp Thing," and "The Wizard of Oz." Although that's not quite the right, I can't really think of how else to describe it.

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    Replies
    1. Wasn't "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" supposed to be his inspiration?
      Have you ever seen "The Devil's Backbone", one of his earlier movies? It's really good too.

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  3. Yes, "The Devil's Backbone" was outstanding.

    Not sure about "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," but that's probably a better reference than "Swamp Thing."

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