While I really enjoyed this film and especially like the directing style of Guillermo del Toro, I am not as enthralled by it as it seems most people are. Don't get me wrong: I think it is great and I recommend others watch it as well. I just don't think it was as epic as the professional critics are making it out to be.
Del Toro is famous in my mind for his work with Pan's Labyrinth, which, if you don't know what that is go check it out because that was epic. In this one he uses a similar style but uses only one non-human in the Shape of Water. The film is absolutely beautiful, the acting is excellent and the musical score is wonderful. So now I guess i will move on to what it was about this film that bothered me.
The lead character Elisa, is a mute who lands a job as a cleaner at a government facility. It turns out this facility is a top-secret government facility that has a top-secret creature in it.
A love story ensues between the two of them and blah blah blah, you know the routine here. Watch the movie in order to see if you are grossed out by it or not. I wasn't necessarily turned off by the beastiality because love knows no boundaries i guess. The problem I had was this:
Elisa and her cleaning crew seem to kind of come and go as they please inside of a top-secret government facility. Sure Elisa is concerned about getting caught but she seems to spend hours upon hours in the off limits room just hanging out and no one ever seems to take notice. She even brings in record players to entertain Merman with.
I personally worked for several U.S. Federal government agencies and their security and mistrust of their employees is absurd and absolute. If i brought in an unapproved pencil it would be taken off of me by security. Something the size of a record player? Forget that.
In my job there were certain rooms that we were not allowed to make copies in despite the fact that other than the copy machines, there was nothing else in the room (or was there? Maybe there was a secret entrance to an underground lair in that room!) The security protocols in place would never allow for any members of the staff to be capable of just wandering into a room that housed an extremely important aspect of the military in it - For cleaners or anyone else.
So i suppose I should just suspend my disbelief for the sake of a story but this, in my mind, was kind of like the ubiquitous "tripping over a log while running away from a killer in the woods." It was just too impractical for me to accept the rest of the film and I suppose that is my fault because it was necessary for Elisa to be a low-ranking member of the facility in order for the love story to be as impactful as it was.
There was also the scene where she is able to fill up an entire room with water in her apartment and the impracticality behind this was just maddening to me.
Her bathroom is relatively large and yet it completely fills up with water in, i dunno, half an hour or so. I remembered while watching this scene a time in my own life regarding water. I was trying to fill up a 4x11 meter swimming pool using 2 hoses at full blast and it took several days. Also, presuming that the door to the bathroom is not, in-fact, submarine-grade cast iron but is instead made of wood and with a standard latch it is pretty remarkable that it was capable of keeping what was bound to be about 80,000 lbs of water inside the room without breaking. I flashed back to college when my roommate had a bar with a fish-tank in it, and put it in the center of the room where the structural integrity of building is weakest, we could hear the support beams creaking and one of them snapped and collapsed into the apartment below us (we stopped filling up the tank at that point.)
Maybe I am being a jerk here but when i watch movies, practicality is something that I need in my storylines. Sorry, but this is the way that I am.
The movie is beautiful and if you can ignore the fact that the military is definitely NOT as laid back about security as is presented in the movie and if you don't have a problem ignoring fundamentals of physics then I think it will be worth watching.
It did win Best Picture after all.
7 / 10