“The Shape of Water” blends fantasy, morality and horror into a steady stream.
Guillermo del Toro is a filmmaker of singular vision. His movies are almost always morality tales, uniquely blending elements of fantasy, romance, and horror into a seamless mix. In “The Shape of Water”, he and fellow screenwriter Vanessa Taylor tell the story of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who finds love with a captured humanoid-amphibian creature. Their fable has many layers, including adult themes of sexuality, oppression, and bigotry. It may take place in 1962, but it is all about our modern world in America. Maybe that’s why it has resonated with so many, including all branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, garnering 13 Oscar nominations this year.