A rather conventional crowd pleaser relying heavily on classical dichotomies that delivers its message in a far too blatant way. There are some nice visual ideas, but it's hard to overlook the numerous flaws of the screenplay.
Cumming towards fate. Eggs à la Orgasme. Sea Creatures with shining Kyanite-like LED skin beats as if veins revealing feelings. Muteness+silence overthrowing menacing words and threats. Taking care of one's teeth and fucking a lot. Female agency. Being human is sparing animals and creatures as well as saving our fellow man and woman. Oh Hi Rodney McKay from Stargate SG-1/Atlantis. That Jeunet-like opening>oh such ❤ ▽
Del Toro has reinvented the classic "beauty & the beast" tale in which a mute woman falls for a merman (resembling Abe) back in the early '60s - there were several moments that were "spot on!" alongside the brilliant acting Hawkins gives. I am so happy Del Toro deserved the Oscars for this... he has definitely come a long way with his imagination in filmmaking.
"Why am I trying to assign a gender to a fish?" said a voice in the bathroom stall next to mine after the film. And this is what I found especially beautiful: the shapelessness, abstractness of the object of desire. It's a fairy tale, like amphibian Amelie, a knot of feelings that anyone can relate to. I sobbed a lot but I was also a bit drunk.
Nice, so many good things about it. There is something of early Jean-Pierre Jeunet in the cinematography. Every scene is so gorgeous and essential to the story telling, that it would be hard to improve anything. It's celebratory and nostalgic where the more recent Jeunet's "Micmacs" is revolutionary and utopian. And the way cruelty bursts into a fable is Del Toro at his best, in the early Spanish speaking titles.
2017 doesn't deserve a film as mesmerizing and Romantic as "Shape of Water." It's a rare pleasure to become completely lost in a film in which everything one's eye could fall on within the frame feels meticulously designed and of a piece with the story the filmmaker is attempting to tell. Kudos to 20th Century Fox for having faith in Guillermo Del Toro's vision and a movie that hardly screams 'Best Picture Winner.'
2.5. On one level, this is wish-fulfillment fantasy of a kind I'm happy to get behind--that level, of course, being the dream of a real, almost immediate reversal of male pattern baldness. Otherwise, well, it sure is pretty. As a beauty and the beast fairy-tale it's undermined by the extreme--God-like, Greek-style--physical beauty of its monster. And its narrative machinery leaks gallons of dream-logic by the end.
For all its beautifully observed moments of poetic yearning, its concern for characters marginalised & incomplete, the film has a fatal flaw that renders it deficient. The central love story is unconvincing. Del Toro's believes that such characters belong together, but does nothing to establish chemistry, attraction or even love. The characters elicit no sympathy & the more explicit elements seem crass & gratuitous.