The Shape Of Water: An Unconventional Fairytale Love Story By Guillermo Del Toro

Today, I’m bringing you The Shape Of Water. It’s an unconventional fairytale love story directed by Guillermo del Toro. To be honest, I wasn’t quite ready for it. The leading lady falls in love with a fish-man? I’m sorry, but I was so not ready for that. But that’s a good thing, isn’t it? We want films to surprise us and take us somewhere else. That’s exactly what The Shape Of Water did for me. I was able to “escape” to a different universe for 2 hours.

the shape of water by guillermo del toro

The Shape Of Water Is All About Love

As I see it, The Shape Of Water is a film about love and acceptance. The leading character Elisa falls in love with a fish-man. Actually, they call him “amphibian man”. Personally, I think fish-man sounds catchier… so let’s keep it like that.

Elisa and Fish-Man

Back to the story, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is mute and the fish-man (Doug Jones) doesn’t speak a word in English. Well, I guess that sort of makes them perfect for each other. However, they eventually find a way to communicate — Elisa teaches the fish-man sign language. After a few encounters, they manage to develop a strong and an unlikeable bond.

Elisa and Giles

Giles (Richard Jenkins) is gay and Elisa is his only friend in the world. It’s understandable why these two would hang with each other. Though she’s mute he can understand her. He’s gay and Elisa can’t utter a world. Well, I guess that makes her the best confident in the world. I can see why this friendship works.

Elisa and Zelda

Zelda (Octavia Spencer) is a black woman in the 60s but that doesn’t matter to Elisa. They are both seen as 2nd class citizens because of their colour/disability. Together, they make each others’ days more enjoyable at the dreadful research facility. Zelda is truly a “ride and die” for Elisa.

The Flaws Of This Perfectly Imperfect Film

I really loved the film but I didn’t find it perfect. The way how Elisa falls in love with Fish-Man is very unrealistic. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is a fantasy film. However, how she reacts to meeting Fish-man is very unlikely. As a human, if you see a scary creature standing in front of you, would you be able keep your cool? I think not. It’s in our nature, to fear what we do not know. Therefore, for Elisa to ignore primal instinct and go for it… it’s just not believable. In addition, let’s talk about the sensual encounters with fish-man. It was too much. No, this not me being prude. But I really think, it would’ve been more believable if the two kept a solid friendship.

The Sweet Points Of The Shape Of Water

As I said before, the film is not perfect. However, the visuals and music are. They really get the film to another level.

Great Music

The music really sets the mood. I found myself smiling during the entire film. It really transports you to a different era. It’s so good, that it wouldn’t be weird to play it almost everyday. Yeah, it’s that addictive.

Great Visuals

Guess how much it cost to make The Shape Of Water? Less than 20 million dollars. Now, that’s impressive. Guess how much this film has made so far? More than 100 million dollars. That only proves that you don’t always need big money to make great films.


The Shape Of Water is a cinematic experience like no other. It’s unique in its own right. It might even reach cult status within a couple of years. In addition, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are indeed precious. Well, they both received Oscar nods for their wonderful work in this film. What about Guillermo del Toro? Of all the nominated directors, I think he’s the one that brought something new to the table. Therefore, I think he deserves to win.