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Movie Review: The Shape of Water

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

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SERIOUSLY.

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Okay. If you’re still here, I’m assuming you are okay with being spoiled or you’ve already seen this amazing movie.

Hubby and I saw it this past weekend. The synopsis really doesn’t do it justice. It sounded interesting to me, an experiment in the Cold War era, but it didn’t even touch the romance or what the creature was. Maybe intentionally, I don’t know.

So…Elisa, the main character, who is mute (but can hear fine), works as a custodian for some kind of research facility. And she finds this amphibian-like creature and befriends it. She teaches it sign language.

Her kindness and wonder was really cool. She did not want him to die, so she — and her neighbor — break him out of the facility and take him home with them.

Here’s where things start getting seriously cool. Now, I had a feeling there’d be a romance. But I did not realize how deep it would go. The creature more or less lives in Elisa’s tub, and she spends a lot of time in there, and you can pretty much guess where that leads. And…it’s not gross. The way it’s portrayed, it’s actually beautiful and ethereal and really cool. (Please note that there weren’t any actual sex scenes, just the suggestion of them, which I think was the right way to go so it didn’t turn into a sexfest. The focus was on the characters and their feelings.)

But there’s a problem: the creature is getting sick and the a-holes at the facility are after Elisa and the creature. She has to let him go back to the ocean.

I expected a sad farewell, and for awhile it was looking that way. But then something else happens and Elisa needs medical care.

Well, the creature can heal. And so he does, and takes Elisa with him into the ocean. He revives her (and I read that he gave her gills, but I didn’t see that at all) and they live happily ever after.

Honestly? I cried like a baby. I think what got to me was Elisa and the creature being different somehow, and mute, and they found each other and connected. It seemed like fate, the universe giving her something, because she had nobody. She was a bit quirky, but in a good way.

Also? She had scars on her throat which were supposedly undeveloped gills? And then I wonder, well, maybe she was some sort of creature that just got the gills. She didn’t know where she came from, so it could be.

The colors in this movie were astounding. Deep blues, turquoise, greens. Made me think of the sea. A lot of the movie felt ethereal and not-quite-real. But those colors…it’s making my photography muse stir awake and start thinking.

It was sort of like Beauty and the Beast. But the creature wasn’t ugly per se; he was just different. And I believe that’s the strength of this movie — it portrayed his  difference really well.

It also reminded me of Splash, except without the comedy. There are some parallels we can draw: man finds mermaid (genderflipped), he keeps her a secret, once scientists discover her, they go after both and study them, and eventually, he ends up living with her in the sea. I don’t think he was given gills, though. That part was always ambiguous, except for the part where he couldn’t ever return to land.

So…I fell in love with this movie. Like I said, my expectations were so different, and it delivered in a major way. Also? I am a sucker for a good romance, human or not.

Check this movie out. Be amazed.

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