Guillermo Del Toro has a fascination with monsters. Look back at his directorial efforts and see for yourself. Even the badass Blade 2 makes the villain, Nomak, a bit sympathetic. Del Toro is in it to make monsters beautiful and with the other films he’s attached to (Pinocchio, Frankenstein) it doesn’t seem like he’s gonna stop.
The Shape of Water which has been out for a bit now shows us Del Toro having something personal to say. Each film he makes has his personal touch, even the Hellboy movies (which weren’t created by him) you can still tell his finger prints are on them. With Shape of Water you can tell this is a love story he’s been wanting to make.
The story is about a mute woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who befriends Gill Man and her plan to release the amphibian from the abusive hands of the villain Strickland (Michael Shannon). As Elisa makes friends with Gill Man, she develops feelings for him. She hates seeing him get abused over and over so with the help of her friends (Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins) they plan an escape and set him free into the river.
With it being a Del Toro film, there’s alot more to it than that. Like the Gill Man, almost everyone in the movie is different and gets treated disrespectfully because of it. You’ve got Elisa, who is a mute, her best friend Giles who is a homosexual and her coworker and other best friend Zelda, who is black. The film is set in the 60’s so people’s intolerance for those who don’t “fit in” was very evident. Everyone gets treated in some bad way because they’re different and it definitely feels like Del Toro was after that in some way especially now with all the sexual allegations in Hollywood and the racial climate our current President has brought on.
The movie isn’t for everyone and it does get a bit weird between the woman and Amphibian but this is a Del Toro love story, so expect that. One has to wonder if Del Toro sees himself as the creature or the woman of this story, with his fascination with monsters and all.
If you’re in the mood for something different or are a Del Toro fan, this is for you. On another note, this would’ve been cooler if this had been part of the Dark Universe that Universal was trying to jump start with The Mummy.