Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” screened at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday to rave reviews.
Word coming from festival-goers is that the film, which stars Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins, is brilliant and moving.
“The Shape of Water” is:
“An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.”
A ravishing, eccentric auteur’s imagining, spilling artistry, empathy and sensuality from every open pore, it also offers more straight-up movie for your money than just about any Hollywood studio offering this year.
Xan Brooks of The Guardian has been less than impressed with del Toro in recent years, but he enjoyed this latest saying:
It feels less of a fevered artistic exercise than his other recent work; more seamless and successful in the way it orders its material. Yes, Del Toro’s latest flight of fancy sets out to liberally pastiche the postwar monster movie, doffing its cap to the incident at Roswell and all manner of related cold war paranoia. But it’s warmer and richer than the films that came before. Beneath that glossy, scaly surface is a beating heart.
Robbie Collin of The Telegraph describes Sally Hawkins and her performance:
Elisa is, for any number of reasons, the kind of role that comes along just once a lifetime. Hawkins meets it with the performance of one. The London-born actress’s keen observational eye, technical control and puckish comic touch have been evident in films from Happy-Go-Lucky, her 2008 breakout with Mike Leigh, to Maudie (2016), a biopic of an arthritic artist. But here they’re wed to an emotional intensity and shivery eroticism that make you wriggle with delight.
The general consensus is more of the same. The audience could not fill Twitter with enough praise for the film. The news thrilled those who were not able to travel to Italy for the festival. There will be time for more reactions on Friday when the film screens at Telluride, and again next week in Toronto.
General audiences will be able to discover the magic for themselves when “The Shape of Water” opens December 8.