The Shape of Water: Exceptional Cast, Beautiful Story & Gorgeous Music
Oh my goodness, if there’s a film this year that has completely blown my socks off, it’s The Shape of Water. I was so excited to see this film for ages before it came out, and I was even more excited that I got to see it early at a Cineworld Unlimited screening at the end of January. Now, to top it all off, it just won Best Picture at the Oscars and I couldn’t be happier!!!
I won’t say too much in this introduction because that’s what the review is for, so I’ll get straight to it. Here’s what I thought of The Shape of Water… (Spoilers: it’s incredible.)
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Haven’t seen The Shape of Water? Watch the trailer:
The Shape of Water is an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment.
🎬 UK Release: 14th February 2018
🎬 Director: Guillermo del Toro
🎬 Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
The Shape of Water was definitely one of my most anticipated films of the year. I saw the trailer a while ago and I was instantly captivated by the music and the intriguing story.
From the trailer alone, just from the aesthetic and the music, I thought it seemed like a classic film with a fantastical twist. Also, Octavia Spencer stars in it, which made me happy – she’s one of my favourite actresses!
One of the sentences I wrote before I went in that pretty much sums up my expectations of it: “It looks dark and suspenseful and weird and I can’t wait to see it.”
Expected Rating: 4 stars
Okay. Where do I start?
The Shape of Water was flipping incredible and every single person needs to go and see it right now if it’s still in the cinema when you’re reading this. Or if not, watch it somehow! It’s not often I watch a film and come out adoring everything about it, but with this one, I definitely did. I LOVED IT.
The Shape of Water is about Elisa, a mute woman who communicates using sign language. Her life is literally changed forever when she discovered a secret experiment – a kind of other-worldly fish-man – in the high-security lab where she works.
It’s great to see a film that has a completely original, unique plot when so many other films all stick to the same few storylines with the names changed. It was refreshing and so exciting, and I think that’s one of the reasons that this film stuck out to me so much: it’s different. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before and I loved it. (How many times can I say I loved it?)
The acting is amazing (I’ve been rooting for Sally Hawkins to get the Oscar, but even though she didn’t (Frances McDormand deserved it and her speech was awesome), I’m SO glad she’s been nominated, at least!). Every person in the cast had their own quirks, their own unique way of bringing their character to life, and it made it so easy to either love them or hate them. (Man, there are a lot of characters to hate…)
The stand-out person for me is Sally Hawkins who played Elisa. She conveyed a ridiculous amount of feeling and emotion just using her face and her hands. I know people do this all the time if they speak every day using sign language, but the big thing is that Sally Hawkins doesn’t. That’s what makes her performance even more mesmerising.
There’s one scene in particular that stood out to me where Elisa conveyed approximately 3 million emotions in 2 minutes. Not often can an actor (who doesn’t speak using sign language usually) communicate so beautifully and not have one single line in an entire film. She’s incredible and adorable and I love her.
Apart from Sally Hawkins, I can’t really pick out anyone for being particularly good – everyone was as incredible as each other. Give them aaall the awards!
The music and score are gorgeous. I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was composed by Alexandre Desplat, the person behind The Grand Budapest Hotel, which one of my favourite films ever. I now have The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water soundtracks saved on my Spotify and I love to put them on as atmospheric background music! The music combined with the imagery and the aesthetic is just beautiful and heart-wrenching, and it’s shot straight up to the top 5 in my list of favourite films. In fact, at the Oscars last night, it won best Production Design and Original Music Score, both highly deserved!
I thought I’d have a lot to write about this but I’ve realised it’s one of those films where I’m lost for words, other than “OH MY GOD, WATCH IT RIGHT NOW, I LOVED IT.” I tend to know how much I love or dislike a film based on how much I can write about it – if I hate it (e.g. Split) or even mildly dislike it (e.g. The Greatest Showman) I can write an essay. But if I love it, all I can think of to say is “IT’S SO GOOD!!” The Shape of Water is one of those films.
If I could, I’ve give The Shape of Water 100 stars. But alas, I can’t, so I’ll have to stick with 5.
What did you think of The Shape of Water? Do you think it deserved the 13 Oscar nominations and the coveted Best Picture?
P.S. Want a month of free cinema with Cineworld? If you enter my referral code when you get your own Cineworld Unlimited card, we’ll both get a free month of unlimited cinema! See details below.
My Cineworld referral code: RAF-79BP-56QM-27WE-63AC
Enter this code in the promo code box when you register for your own Unlimited membership online. We’ll both receive one month’s free membership once you successfully pay for and complete your first 90 days of Unlimited membership. (If you see a lot of films, I can fully recommend it. You also get 10% off cinema snacks, 25% off certain restaurants, and other exclusive offers too!)