The Shape of water film by the Mexican auteur Guillermo del Toro, next february in Italy and Europe, is an original fantasy, a sensual interspecies romance, between a woman and an unclassifiable aquatic creature.
At the Venice Film Festival in September the Annette Bening’s jury awarded it with the Golden Lion.
The Shape of Water is a great, astonishing film, full of pathos, emotions and love, a strange love, indeed.
The film is a contemporary human parable, streaked with fury against traditional hierarchies of power in the United States. It’s a film that rousingly champions marginalised minorities and outsiders. Its politics are not contentious, but its live-and-let-live message couldn’t be purer
Most of the film’s characters amount to a gallery of people who have been sidelined from mainstream society in early 1960s America. For instance, mute cleaning lady Eliza (played greatly by Sally Hawkins, really a fantastic actress here) is both the protagonist and plainest symbolic embodiment of this isolation.
For a part of the film, it’s unclear whether she is disabled or voluntarily silent.
Eliza’s closest allies lurk likewise in the social shadows. Giles (a good Richard Jenkins), her neighbour, is a closeted gay man, aching for romantic companionship, but provided with no outlet to find it. Zelda (Octavia Spencer), her colleague and protector at the high-security government lab where she works, is an African American woman, ignored by men.
None of these characters is disempowered as egregiously as Eliza is unlikely, non–human object of desire: a fish man hybrid kidnapped, from the Amazon by the government, for purposes of scientific experimentation.
Del Toro’s Shape of water is a film FlipMagazine suggests to see and love. That’s it.
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