Picoreview: The Shape of Water

Picoreview: The Shape of Water: pretty sweet.

I haven’t seen Get Out and I’m not likely to, because I really don’t like horror movies, but having now seen The Shape of Water and not Get Out, I pretty well suspect that Get Out was more deserving of the Oscar for Best Picture (assuming it was between those two, which, for the purposes of this discussion, I am. :)). The Shape of Water is a largely sweet, charming, beautifully filmed, well written love story to the movies, which is why, I think, it got the Best Picture: Hollywood does love films that love Hollywood. I’m very glad it *did* get Best Picture, and I actually do think this is a film that will stand the test of time in many ways, but it’s not the same kind of incisive political and social commentary horror that Get Out is.

The Shape of Water did nearly everything I expected it to, up to and including the twist(? was it a twist? I saw it coming from the first seconds of the film, but there were people who interpreted it completely differently than I did) ending, but it did it well. I genuinely loved the opening narrative about “the latter days of a beloved prince’s reign” or whatever it was, so much so that when they later nailed down the date of the film more precisely I was almost disappointed.

I loved Octavia Spencer as Eliza’s very talkative friend: both the trope and the actual performance made me happy all the way through. I thought bad guy Michael Shannon’s final line was magnificent. I loved Michael Stuhlbarg’s character and the decisions he made. I was less charmed by Richard Jenkins than I expected to be, and I thought Sally Hawkins put in a strong performance.

ALSO IT HAD DAVID HEWLETT YAY DAVID HEWLETT! What a terrible haircut! But yay David Hewlett!

Doug Jones retains the ultimate ability to emote through prosthetic makeup (well, ‘ultimate’: him, Ron Perlman, & Andy Sirkus kind of all hold the top spot for that). I thought his Creature was one of his more alien, er, creatures, despite the obvious Abe Sapien parallels, particularly with the eggs, but I felt the Creature was really very different from Abe, perhaps because Abe doesn’t have savagery as part of the character package. And on one hand I sort of wish he’d stop doing Doug Jones Hand Things, but on the other, when your face and eyes are as covered as his usually are, maybe the Hand Things are necessary.

I also completely understand–although I’d purposefully not read any of the articles about it before seeing the film–why it’s a problematic representation of disability. I think there are some aspects of its representation that are probably meant to be culturally indicative of the film’s era, rather than the modern era or even GdT’s sensibilities, but it’s not a film *of* that era, it’s merely set there, so that’s…finding loopholes, and I don’t think that’s especially useful. So, I mean, yeah: my fave is problematic.

But even if it is problematic, I still liked it a lot. I didn’t love it unconditionally, which is kind of what I expected, but I came away from it happy, and I’m very, very happy for Señor del Toro that it took home a bunch of Oscars. ♥

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