Thanks to 20th Century Fox Australia we had the chance to see Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water before its official Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but remember there is no better critic than yourself!

Set in the ‘60s, the film follows Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute girl who works in a secret research facility where a mysterious amphibian creature is held for experimentation and tortured by a cold-hearted government official (Michael Shannon).

Surprisingly, Elisa forms a special bond with the intelligent creature by communicating using sign language and embarks on a forbidden relationship that transcends species, putting the two of them in grave jeopardy.

The Shape of Water is a poetic fable that could be hailed as a modern re-imagination of Beauty and the Beast, with obvious influences from Creature from the Black Lagoon. Much like the characters being polar opposites, Director Guillermo del Toro, manages to effortless merge genres to create something that is half a romance tale and half a monster movie. The result make for a stunning monster movie with epic amounts of heart.

The film is beautifully styled and shot by the visionary filmmaker ,who once again manages to mesmerise viewers not only with his love for practical effects, but also his exquisite ability to tell a magical story. The stunning script (also written by Del Toro) is brought to life beautifully by hallmark performances from Sally Hawkins (albeit with her hands), Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Del Toro’s muse Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth).

The score by Alexandre Deplat (Argo, The King’s Speech) also deserves a special mention, as it hits all the right notes and brings the cinematic experience to the next level – even making what could have been categorised as bizarre moments, truly romantic and dreamy. No wonder it won the Golden Globe and is a sure-fire contender for an Oscar.

Overall, The Shape of Water is one of those cinematic gems, both beautiful and poignant – it makes you re-evaluate you perceptions of others and the cruelty of humanity. Despite the premise not being for everyone, it manages to trap the viewer inside its fantasy world of magical creatures, odd heroines, hateful villains and a forbidden romance…just cut out the middleman and give Del Toro the Oscar now!

The Shape of Water – In Cinemas January 18, 2018

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