A mute cleaning woman falls in love with an amphibious creature of human proportions that she runs into at a high security government laboratory. She feeds it eggs and music, before deciding to ship it out of the ghastly tank where it lies chained, awaiting a future that appears a bit too bleak.
The sense of the bizarre that Guillermo del Toro daringly works on in ‘The Shape of Water is audacious, and in doing so, he throws in two highly unlikely protagonists together into the cesspool, watching them connect to each other in a language that remains undefined, and gently, but surely emerge inextricable.
There are as well, the numerous allusions that demand an analysis of the film as an allegory, or even as a commentary on a society that is unrelentingly stubborn to let what it considers an aberrance into its folds. Not to forget the visual brilliance and the stunning cinematography by Dan Laustsen.
And there is Sally Hawkins, who gracefully lets her performance be as shapeless as the water itself; and who through a precisely orchestrated feat ensures that Elisa and her merman are as believable as they get. Lyrical and deeply moving, ‘The Shape of Water’ is without doubt, one of Del Toro’s finest works till date.