Current Cinema: Shape of Water by Lucy Jensen


Film: The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro


Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito

Michael Shannon as Richard Strickland

Richard Jenkins as Giles


“The Shape of Water” provides a stark contrast to any other movie in theatres today. Its plot centers around a woman and her strange relationship with an aquatic creature, making it seem almost like a fairy tale. Its originality is refreshing after having seen numerous movies based on books that are completely uninspired. Having seen other movies by Guillermo del Toro in the past, I had no idea what to expect from this movie because of the widely varying types of movies that he had previously directed. After having seen it, I want nothing but to go back to the theatre to re-watch it.


The unparalleled visuals and music of this film reflect the time period that it is in, creating a new – and very intriguing – atmosphere.  Set in the 1960s, the costumes and settings create a nostalgic ambiance that fit the time period very well. The characters spend much time watching old-fashioned television and listening to jazz, submerging the audience in this world. It does an effective job of introducing the viewers to new and different concepts, which is necessary for the people that were not alive during that time. As someone that has grown up in the 21st century, I have been completely unfamiliar with life in the mid-1900s. With the inclusion of tensions between the Russians and Americans during the Cold War Era, the obvious homophobia and racism portrayed throughout the movie, and various struggles regarding new technology, the movie was completely immersed in its respective time period. I completely understood the entire story, regardless of the fact that I had been unacquainted with the setting and time period of the movie before watching it.



A certain musical theme was repeated numerous times throughout the movie. This theme did not exactly fit into the genre of music from the 1960s, making it feel distant from the plot. The theme seemed timeless, which adds to the romantic and fantastic spirit of the movie. It also provided continuity throughout the movie, showing that while everything was changing, something seemed to remain the same. Though short, the melody was memorable, and I left the movie theatre with it playing in my mind.

I am a big fan of fairy tales because the force of good always seems to prevail. The end of “The Shape of Water” communicated the message that true love can be found anywhere. It also showed the importance of acceptance, even to animals or other living things that may not be exactly the same as humans are. This is much needed, especially in a time lacking universal tolerance. I came to the conclusion that this film was not only exceptionally pleasurable to watch, but it left the audience with many things to think about. I am glad that I was able to watch it while it was still in the theatres, and I cannot wait to see it again.