The Shape of Water by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) is a horror story about a deaf woman who falls in love with a water creature held in a military lab.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a lonely mute who works in a Cold War era secret government laboratory. Her quiet and her job are numbing and isolating.
When Elisa and her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a top secret experiment, Elisa’s life is changed forever.
It’s a man-like water creature (Doug Jones) from the Amazon region. Think Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Government scientists want to dissect, analyze, and weaponize. Elisa wants to love and be loved.
…if we do nothing, neither are we…
By connecting Elisa discovers her own beauty and humanity. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from, love is all we need.
The Meaning of The Shape of Water
In a way, this is a metaphor for a multicultural relationship. There are so many things about each other that you just don’t understand (sometimes that helps).
Your differences are fascinating. You have two worlds to share. Everyone telling you avoid a mixed relationship just pushes you closer together. When it works, it’s beautiful.
Don’t do this Eliza. Don’t do this.
The story is also a metaphor for the immigrant experience. If you look any different from the natives, you are considered to be an inhuman freak. Dehumanization is the first step towards abuse and even murder.
When he looks at me, he doesn’t know how I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.
All God’s creatures are united by the spark of life. In Del Toro’s world, even monsters are beautiful. And you know what? He is right.
If I told you about her, what would I say? I wonder.
It’s unlikely that Del Toro consciously set out to promote multiculturalism, but great artists tap the universal subconscious.
The Shape of Water Awards
Venice Film Festival
The Shape of Water premiered at Venice where it won the Golden Lion and three other awards.
75th Golden Globes
The Shape of Water earned five Golden Globe nominations and won “Best Director” and “Best Original Score ~ Motion Picture.”
- Best Motion Picture ~ Drama
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture ~ Drama (Sally Hawkins)
- Best Director (Guillermo del Toro) WINNER
- Best Screenplay ~ Motion Picture (Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor)
- Best Original Score ~ Motion Picture (Alexandre Desplat)
Screen Actors Guild Awards
The Shape of Water was nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” (Sally Hawkins) and “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role” (Richard Jenkins).
The Shape of Water led Oscar nominations with 13.
- Best Picture (Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale)
- Best Director (Guillermo del Toro)
- Best Actress (Sally Hawkins)
- Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins)
- Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer)
- Best Original Screenplay (Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor)
- Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
- Best Sound Editing (Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira)
- Best Sound Mixing (Christian Cooke, Brad Zoem, and Glen Gauthier)
- Best Production Design (Production Design: Paul D. Austerberry, Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin)
- Best Cinematography (Dan Laustsen)
- Best Costume Design (Luis Sequeria)
- Best Film Editing (Sidney Wolinsky)
Seeing The Shape of Water
The film’s world premiere is at the Venice International Film Festival on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 8:30am.
The Shape of Water opens at the Angelika Film Center in Greenwich Village and the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 on Thursday, December 1, 2017. (It was originally scheduled for December 8.)
The Shape of Water is playing citywide.