The Shape of Water (2017)

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The Shape of Water (2017) poster

Date Created: 13/09/2017
Date Modified: 14/10/2017
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Runtime: 119 min -
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An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.
The Shape of Water is a 2017 American romantic fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival and premiered on August 31, 2017,[2] where it was awarded the Golden Lion for best film in the competition.[3] It is also scheduled to be screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] It is scheduled for release in the United States on December 8, 2017.
Premise[edit]

In 1962, a mute janitor and her colleague work in a government laboratory and eventually discover an amphibious creature in a water tank. The janitor, out of loneliness, befriends the creature.[6]

Cast[edit]

Sally Hawkins as Eliza Esposito
Michael Shannon as Colonel Strickland, Elisa's superior
Octavia Spencer as Zelda, Elisa's friend and one of her co-workers
Richard Jenkins as Giles, Elisa's neighbor
Doug Jones as The Asset
Michael Stuhlbarg as Hoffstetler
Lauren Lee Smith as Elaine
Nick Searcy
David Hewlett

Production[edit]

The idea for The Shape of Water formed during del Toro's breakfast with Daniel Kraus in 2011, with whom he would later co-write the novel Trollhunters, del Toro said.[7] It does show undeniable similarities to the 2015 short film The Space Between Us, though.[8]

On March 17, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that a thriller film was in development from Guillermo del Toro which would star Octavia Spencer and which del Toro was writing and would produce and direct for Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film would be set in the Cold War era.[9] Michael Stuhlbarg joined the film's cast later in March.[10] On May 6, 2016, Michael Shannon joined the cast in a role opposite Sally Hawkins.[11] The title was speculated and then confirmed to be The Shape of Water.[12][13][14] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro confirmed his frequent collaborator Doug Jones would play the creature in the film.[15]

Filming began on August 15, 2016.[16] [17] [18] and wrapped on November 6, 2016.[19]

Alexandre Desplat is the composer of the film's score.[20]

Reception[edit]

After its premiere at the Venice film festival, The Shape of Water was met with high praise from critics, with many declaring it Del Toro's best film since Pan's Labyrinth[21] and particularly praising Sally Hawkins' performance.[22] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 8.9/10.[23] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 92 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[24]

Ben Croll of Indiewire gave the film an "A" and called it "one of del Toro’s most stunningly successful works, it’s also a powerful vision of a creative master feeling totally, joyously free."[25]

The film won the prestigious Golden Lion at the 74th Venice Film Festival.[26]

Awards[edit]

Year Award/Festival Category Winner/Nominee Result
2017 74th Venice Film Festival Gold Lion Guillermo del Toro Won
C. Smithers Foundation Award Guillermo del Toro Won
Future Film Festival Digital Award Guillermo del Toro Won
Soundtrack Stars Award Alexandre Desplat Won