The Shape of Water – the Secret Formula to Success of Guillermo del Toro

In 2018 the film of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro `The Shape of Water` was Oscar prized for four nominations. However, the public divided strictly into two camps of lovers and haters, even though it was called the best film for the last several years—the fairy story about the impossible love of a woman and amphibian. The plot and on-screen complete with early Mr Guillermo works, but this one is with the subtly storyline. Which one? Let's see in this review what extraordinary turns revealed the new Guillermo del Toro. The first thing - his characters had never made love with themselves before. Otherwise, ` The Shape of Water` wouldn't be so outstanding.

Sally Hawkins and Guillermo del Toro Photo Shutterstock Kathy Hutchins
Sally Hawkins and Guillermo del Toro Photo Shutterstock Kathy Hutchins

Let me start with the fact that Guillermo del Toro is a pretty lovely fairy tale creator. Adult fairy tales like `Crimson Peak`, `El labyrinto del fauno`, `Hellboy`, etc. To my mind, he always makes the alter world with creatures and hidden doors when the main characters are willing to find shelter from their tragedies. In some films, he describes perfectly the infinite of human existence. At the edge of death, in the dangerous circumstances (like wars, battles), he let the protagonist feel abandoned and weak. However, all of them are always getting used to the plot conditions and finally rose high. The same, The Shape of Water is a fairy when Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) lived in the fantasy world in her furniture flat above the cinema. Her neighbor retired painter Giles (Richard Jenkins) is fond of black-and-white film watching, also tried to recover in the magazine and is in a  non-reciprocal love with a waiter in a Pie café.



Making the note, Elisa works at the super-secret laboratory of the USA researching centre. As we get from the plot, the main events occurred in the times of the Cold War when The USA was in disputes with soviets to claim who the coolest one on the world scene. Elisa, from her small and authentic flat, went out into the real world with race discrimination, sexual inequality and religion prejudices. Even she worked in a brutal world, tried to save a piece of miracle and kindness. The on-screen picture created in Burton’s style. Deep – grey and blue with bright spots like yellow and blue balloons or the man with the cake. All of this surrounded Elisa.

Michael Stuhlbarg Photo Shutterstock DFree
Michael Stuhlbarg Photo Shutterstock DFree

Back to the research center, she is a cleaner inside the laboratory, whereas a strange creature from Africa’s waters was delivered. Initially, the experiments and shocking discovery in advance should have to overthrow the soviets in a glory race. What also is interesting, Guillermo didn’t forget to implement a soviet spy, Dmitrii aka Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), a doctor of science, who appeared the most humanistic among other co-workers. Elisa was amazed by the unrealistic amphibian, what for her was pretty real. And she started cultivating the feeling and emotions toward it, which finally let the love story begin.

The film was directed for half of a year and took only 20 million dollars, which means a little for the on-screens like this one. However, the whole picture with graphics, animations and unrealistic machines put this story to the top of the chart of the 2018 premiers. Up to my mind, the Shape of Water is a fascinating story with its sense, without a strict screenplay. From the beginning, the fundamental structure is a laboratory whereas all events happened, but further, it transformed into an abstract, love story of both, without borders and possible frames. It manipulated by our conscious with the feeling and emotions, so we didn’t notice the unrealistic atmosphere. The brain didn’t even fight with the situation, as: what’s the hell is going in here. How do they fell in love? They are from different biodiversities! The only thing we could expect – what would be the next and what would be in the final? By the way, the ending is unexpected but visible.

As you can see, for the main character, Guillermo found the life story with a tragic past. Elisa grew up in an orphanage, so her origin was unknown. Someone found her on the street with the scars on both sides of the neck. Elisa was dumb from childhood, and she was absolute in listening: the unique sounds of water, the rain, boiling eggs. The world around her was like a vast ocean fulfilled with the water, whereas she, like in spacesuit, lives in the small imaginary world. The personal Elisa style is also outstanding. From the furniture inside her flat to the outfit, she looks like a princess, Cinderella, with genuine heart, didn’t afraid to be different from others.

`The Shape of Water` is the film about self-acceptance first and how others do accept, the second. Every day, we withstand social humiliation in various forms. We are considering ourselves imperfect, with ugly sides and substantial defects. But I think social fairytales like this one are more with a positive effect, as everything doesn’t matter when you are in love with somebody. You don’t have stop signals or peculiarities. You have only your form of love – The Shape of Water.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

More reviews from the author:

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