hopscotchee: michael shannon score: 91 rating: R time: 123 minutes
it is so common today to find many movies inspired by and pulled from each other, or even, simply, just rebooted, using old concepts from the 80s, but the shape of water, is a fresh and peculiar outlier. this movie is so uniquely special and creative that it is was like, guillermo del toro was regina george in mean girls, but instead of inviting us into a high-status clique, he let us in on his secret, imaginative world. so, don't worry if you forget to wear pink on wednesdays, scales are the new pink, anyway.
contrasted to our previous hopscotch, wildlife, which is also set in the sixties, you can see guillermo del toro's mind of his own, right off the bat, starting with the opening scene, (spoiler) an underwater shot, submerging you automatically into the story. followed by, the montage style of elisa's daily schedule, setting up her ritual, this eliminated the need for a long, info-packety backstory, making you understand the story a lot quicker. this allowed you, as the viewer, to dive deeper into his world. but, although, the story instantly introduced you to the film's zany characters, the spirit of this movie came from the beauty and detail around them.
the most noticeable detail in this movie was the color palette. it was freakin' outstanding to put it mildly!! the consistency of blues and greens in everything, from the setting to the props to the costumes, was so aesthetically pleasing to the eye and really helped place the characters in a world of their own. it also became a technique to counter life within the lab and society. for example, (spoiler) when we break away and see richard strickland's - enter mickey shay - cookie-cut-out-home-life and the switch to yellow, this separates his personal life from everything else, letting the audience in on his character and understanding his background. the contrast is also used when (spoiler) elisa finally wears red, symbolizing her accepting herself and the relationship she was in, beautifully.
another element that elegantly paired with the enchanting backdrop was the musical score. it takes you on a journey itself, just as much as the film does and perfectly follows the unbounded curiosity of elisa and the creature's relationship. however, this isn't much of a shock coming from the brilliant mind of alexandre desplat, who has an impressive musical dossier. so, for him to team up with guillermo del toro, you wouldn't expect anything less than magical.
and though, there are still several other elements that we could talk about that added to the whimsicality of the film, we can't fail to forget the actresses and actors. yes, we love mickey shay, although not in this role, like, bro, please pick up some sanitary habits, we feel that octavia spencer really deserves the special mention. it's pretty much known that there is no role that octavia spencer can screw up, but this statement couldn't have been more true for this role. as her character, zelda, she acted as the comic relief but also the warmth of the story. there was a lot of drama that went on during the film, however, she keeps a level-head and holds her ground. throughout the entirety of the film, you just wish she could be your friend.
altogether, this movie is insanely creative, unlike anything before. it is an artsy movie, so if you have more of a tactical mind, and don't like things taking some leaps, this might not be your jam. but if you are ready for something different and original, not another copycat repeat, the shape of water will peak your interest.
-- thanks, mickey xo