Guillermo del Toro is the Frank Capra of today – you cannot not like Capra, and it’s impossible to be human and not be overwhelmed by the swelling emotional tide of The Shape Of Water, its awkward elegance, inherent sweetness, its Bambi-like presence in our cruel, cruel world. Like a newborn opening its eyes for the first time to the look of love.
This intoxicating burst of goodness celebrates connection, the space in-between, the silence of it, a quiet reading of heartbeats, the way we dance inside when we are touched by another, the need to merge regardless of all obstacles, the twinship we seek and rarely find, sacrifices we are willing to make when we are recognised for who we truly are.
The couple at its heart are not even both human, but the humanity of their connection defines what humanity should be – the celebration of the other, the crossing of the divide.
Yet, the most human of all is the character of the antagonist, Michael Shannon ripping the screen apart – the savage wedge between our lovers, a lustful, prideful, damaged soul, himself searching for a ruby in the dust, a chance at redemption, not knowing what to do with it when he sees its crimson sparkle… Except trample on it again with a frenzy of the unloved.
And I loved everything about this film, it nourished me like a long-lost lover, a soul-mate found when all hope is lost, but it left me pining for a certain perfection in life that is impossible to conjure, a dark fairy-tale with a happy ending… An illusion of the light.