Review: The Shape of Water

Yesterday was Oscar Nominations Day and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water garnered 13 nominations, more than any other film this year.

Of the nine Best Picture nominees, Alli and I had only seen three up to this point so we took the opportunity last night to trek to our local AMC and check out this movie.

I’m not sure what I expected as my experience with del Toro is fairly limited. I saw the first Pacific Rim, but I’ve never seen Pan’s Labyrinth or any of his other movies. The opening scene immediately takes you into Elisa Esposito’s life. As we learn about her, we are introduced to her work, where we meet the rest of the story.

A more well-done version of Splash

I’m hesitant to describe much about the story. I went in with very little expectation or knowledge of the story outside of the trailer. However, after the fact, Alli very accurately described the movie as “a more well-done version of Splash.”

This is exceedingly accurate.

The cinematography and set design of this movie are stunning and Sally Hawkins is fantastic as the mute Elisa. Richard Jenkins puts in another amazing performance as Elisa’s artist neighbor. Michael Shannon provides just enough villainy to push the story along and Octavia Spencer plays, well…Octavia Spencer. I don’t mean to discount her performance…it’s fine. But is it Oscar-worthy? Not really.

Should you see this movie?

It really depends. Are you someone that wants to see all the Best Picture Oscar-nominated movies? Well then, yeah. See it. Are you creeped out by someone falling in love with a fish-man? Maybe don’t see this one, then.

Do you like Guillermo del Toro’s more subtle work? This movie isn’t over the top in its effects or monsters. In fact, I’d argue that this “monster” shows more humanity than some of the human counterparts at times.

It’s a unique take on a love story and I really enjoyed it a lot.

Quick Thoughts on the Oscar Nominations

  • I need to see The Hurt Locker. I’ve got the Redbox DVD, but haven’t had time to watch it yet.
  • Is UP the first picture to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Animated Picture? I’m assuming so, but not sure.
  • No big surprises for the acting nominations except perhaps
  • Really want to see An Education, especially since Nick Hornby (one of my favorite authors) wrote the screenplay

There are lots of opinions on what’s good and what’s not, but here are the certainties (at least in my mind):

  • The acting awards will go to Bridges, Bullock, Waltz, Mo’Nique
  • Up in the Air will win Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Inglorious Basterds will win Best Original Screenplay
  • Avatar will win all the technical awards

All the rest of the major awards are kind of a crap shoot. Momentum seems to be favoring The Hurt Locker right now, but Avatar or even Tarantino’s Basterds could come out of nowhere to win. It’s anyone’s guess right now.

What do you think?