Enchantment Under The Sea - The Shape of Water (REVIEW)
Guillermo Del Toro has been a bit hit and miss with me. I enjoy the Hellboy films and Chronos for the most part, I really enjoyed Pacific Rim and just didn't buy into Pan's Labrynth or Crimson Peak that said when it comes to world and creature design there is no one quite like Del Toro. He once again goes for a story revolving a creature that is being brought to life by one of his long time collaborators, Doug Jones along side Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins. The result is a really sweet love story that I was absolutely enraptured in.
The idea of a mute person finding the love of their life in a creature is one you don't see every day. Many have compared it to Beauty and the Beast, how they differ however is in the fact that the girl is not captured and slowly warms up to her captor. Instead it's a bond that forms over lunches and having a unique connection to someone who doesn't see them as “other” but as a whole person. Richard Jenkins is in a similar boat as an older struggling gay artist who is past his prime in every sense and just like everyone else in the film is looking to be complete in some way. That is certainly the most positive aspect of this film. What makes you care about these characters is they are all alone in one way or another and they all just want someone in their life that gets them for who they are to make the tough times a little easier.
However the other half of this film is sort of a weird, cold war era spy game that various people are playing with the creature at the centre of it all. That for me is where the film falls apart. I was not interested in the secret dealings of undercover agents and the military coming down on the department to study the creature. It is the same old stuff we see time and time again and that to me was a disappointment in an otherwise really wonderful romantic film that had me on the verge of tears thanks to the incredible performances from Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins and especially Sally Hawkins. It really is a beautiful film with a gorgeous old-timey feel and the idea of love being this grand thing that can happen for anyone in the most unlikely of ways like all classic love stories strive to be.
There is at least a half of this movie that I found utterly touching and another half that was just so standard and paled in comparison to the love that I found it hard to truly fall hard for this film as much as I wanted to. That said the romance really is fantastic and keeps the movie in a more fairy tale like space than the military side of things. Not quite the best of the year as some have said but definitely worth a watch for Sally Hawkins alone.
A spectacular romance sullied by military interference