3 stars (out of 4)
The Shape of Water is one part unconventional love story and one part Cold War-era spy thriller. After months of talking about it, we finally got out to see this film 2 days before it went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
I can’t say I was entirely sold on the romance between the mute cleaning lady and the mystical sea creature, personally. I think it takes more than true love to build a meaningful relationship. Although, pure love that requires no words is certainly a beautiful thing; it’s hard to argue with that.
The rest of the drama was more complex than I expected, which is good. Essentially, three sides had their own designs on the creature, which was being held captive in a top-secret facility in Baltimore: the Americans, who were willing to destroy it to learn from it; the Soviets, who would do anything to thwart the Americans; and Elisa, the lady who wished to save him. Beyond that, several individual players had their own beliefs and agendas as well, which made for a satisfyingly suspenseful story.
Our favourite character was Elisa’s friend and co-worker Zelda, who was really great at telling it like it is. Case in point: the washroom scene.
My only real complaint is that the nudity on display was completely unnecessary. Right off the bat, Elisa bared her all to the audience. I was waiting for it to become relevant somehow later on, but it never happened.