The Shape of Water

2hrs 3mins | Rated R16 | Violence, horror, sex scenes & offensive language

If you think it's high time that Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro joined fellow Mexican auteurs in the Oscar winners circle, The Shape of Water just may be the movie to do it. His latest is a Cold War romance about a mute cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins) who falls hard for an amphibious creature (Doug Jones) being used for secret scientific experiments.
The emotionally naked Hawkins is unforgettable as Elisa, an orphan who was abused as a child (her vocal chords were cut) and now makes a living cleaning up messes at an underground government facility in Baltimore, circa 1962. Richard Jenkins is stellar – when isn't he? – as her neighbour Giles, a closeted gay illustrator.
Enter the creature, known as "the Asset" by shady government types who captured it from the Amazon, where it's said to be a god. Now, this inhuman prisoner is being abused with an electrified cattle prod by an agent named Strickland (Michael Shannon).
The film rises above any familiar backbeats and becomes the transporting, swoon-worthy love story the director intends it to be. She feeds him eggs, plays him Benny Goodman records and teaches him sign language, all out of rapt devotion. The result is an acting duet that will haunt your dreams and break your heart.
Even as the film plunges into torment and tragedy, the core relationship between these two unlikely lovers holds us in thrall. Del Toro is a world-class film artist. There's no sense trying to analyze how he does it. Just dive into the experience. There's magic in it.
Rolling Stone