“The Shape of Water (2018)” Review

There is no profit in last week’s fish.

Why did I watch it?

This one was @joenicholls’ choice.

Did it meet expectations?

Having seen Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth I was expecting a beautifully shot dark fantasy; and on that this film delivered. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to be grounded so specifically in early 1960s Baltimore, with all of the period accoutrements, such as Cadillacs, the space race and segregation.

It was significantly more bloody and violent than the last Tarantino I watched.

The level of detail in the design is outstanding in both respects. Sally Hawkins is, the reviewers say, incredibly expressive as the mute lead. But the rest of the cast is excellent, too. The story is, as @joenicholls’ put it, “Beauty and the Beast” though I certainly got vibes of Frankenstein (via Doctor Who 1996, since I haven’t actually seen it!) It follows the beats you’d expect (a shot in the trailers and on the poster is something of a spoiler) but it’s very well crafted, the characters and their interplay are engaging. Entertaining and enjoyable.

You should watch it if…

  • You like fantasy quirky, and exquisitely realised in a modern setting
  • You’re looking for an aquatic romance

You shouldn’t watch it if…

  • You’re a cat lover

Next up: Jabberwocky (1977). Probably.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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