The Shape of Water - Film Club Review

shapeofwaterWinner of Best Picture at the Oscars, and nominated for several other awards, The Shape of Water has been one of the most talked about films of the year. But does our team think it holds up to the hype?

Title: The Shape of Water
Genre: Drama
Classification: MA15+
Director: Guillermo del Toro

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


In general, did people enjoy this film?

At first glance everyone seemed sold on this film and believed it worthy of the success. However as we began to unpack it, there was a realisation that there wasn't actually that much to unpack. Despite the illusion of depth, this film really is just what it presents itself as, and that seems to be simply a fairy-tale for adults. Though we mostly agreed that the feeling of wonder, the cinematography and the soundtrack all made for an enjoyable watch it would've been nice to have something to delve a little deeper into given the possibilities presented.

What did they like / not like about it?

This is true story-telling in all it's glory. Old Hollywood magic created through beautiful set design, cheerful music and hyper-real dialogue delivery. This movie is for the audience who are happy to put aside reality for 2 hours, and step into the world of make believe. There may have been technical flaws and/or plot holes - but when you allow yourself to be completely enveloped by the story, you can look past all of that and really appreciate the movie for what it is. A piece of cinema, as opposed to much of the 24/7 onslaught of video that we have at our fingertips. - Sally

I think that when watching this film you almost have to surrender to the fairy-tale of it. Suspend disbelief and just enjoy the magic and romance. A part of me found this somewhat difficult to do when I re-watched it. But when I first saw it in the cinema I was captured. The soundtrack and the visuals are beautiful, though the characters could've done with some more depth. Mali

I was disappointed by how conventional the narrative ended up being. It seemed very derivative once you get past the premise, and most of the characters were glaringly one-dimensional, which was a shame. Michael Shannon was wasted as a cartoonish villain, and the water-creature was barely a character at all considering it was one half of the main romance! I understand that Del Toro's storytelling is deliberately simplistic and fairy-tale-esque, and focuses more on set design and aesthetics, but the narrative was just too dull for me to buy in. - Liam

Whilst visually beautiful with its set design and charming musical score, The Shape of Water plays in the shallow end of its characters and sub-plots. Diving into the deep end of juicier character traits and missed opportunities to fish for them, didn't reel me in hook, line and sinker. I wouldn't throw eggs at the TV for it, but you could tell it was fishing for compliments. - Lukas

Found it a little slow but watchable only to see how it ended. All a bit far fetched especially the sex scenes!  Really another woman falls in love with a creature story (King Kong, various alien films etc) except they live happily ever after…  That’ll probably be the sequel given it won best picture. - Eddy

Guillermo del Toro is an absolute master of magical realism and Shape of Water is certainly a feast for the eyes. The cinematography is stunning and character performances are also strong - Michael Shannon's intense screen presence is note-worthy. As too is our determined heroine, who not only falls in love with, but ultimately saves her aquatic-beast lover, from the heartless and violent villain. A romantic tale with a dark twist, its definitely worth a one-time watch. - Vicky

Keywords used to describe this movie:

Magical. Fairy-tale. Romantic. Whimsical. Imaginative. Cinema. Picturesque. Derivative. Fantasy.

Would people recommend it to a friend?

Yes. If you think they could buy into the world it presents you with and/or if you're a fan of Guillermo del Toro.



What did you think of The Shape of Water? We'd love to hear your thoughts! And make sure you stay up to date with the films so you can join in the conversation next fortnight.



And the next film is…

Title: Molly's Gamemollys game
Genre: Drama
Classification: M
Director: Aaron Sorkin

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.




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