Like the best bath you’ve ever taken, it will leave you soft and warm.
The Shape of Water is a movie about many things, but mostly about the power of love, the universal desire to be held and seen, and how we bloom under the magic rain of unconditional acceptance.
The strangest thing about The Shape of Water, which should be one almighty fantastic mess, is that it actually succeeds. The stream of the story easily takes you on a soul-southing journey as if listening to a long-known fairytale, where the ugly becomes the most precious of all.
“The thing we keep in there is an affront,” Strickland says, referring to what lurks in the tank. When Giles first encounters the Creature, however, he doesn’t run away. He gazes, with the practiced eye of an artist, and with the hunger of somebody starved of love, and then declares, “He’s so beautiful.” A poem unlimited, indeed.
Loneliness in the movie is personal, not political. As to how to deal with it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame. What matters is Elisa’s need to be seen, and to find a remedy for her comfortable routine filled with an urgent longing for something more. What matters is a connection, as strange as it might seem. What matters is taking the risk, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that not everything needs to be understood.
“When he looks at me, he doesn’t know I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.”
And so she feeds him eggs, plays him Benny Goodman records and teaches him sign language, all out of rapt devotion. The result is an acting duet that will haunt your dreams and break your heart.
“All that I am, all that I have ever been, brought me here to him,” Eliza says — or signs — of the Creature, and that yearning feels as urgent as a news flash. Neither bullies nor bogeymen frighten her. Nor does sex.
The movie spins and turns, it makes you wonder why and how, and finally leaves you breathless with the very last watery scene and a bit of heart-moving poetry.
Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, it humbles my heart, for You are everywhere.
It does not give any clear answer, nor straightforward receipts for happiness, but it surely transmits the feeling that in this universe, we are nothing without love.
It shows that sometimes all you need is to see yourself through the eyes of someone else. Sometimes small gestures are all it takes to change the course of history. Often there’s no need to fit in. It is always worth it.
Just dive into the experience.
It’s not perfection but the contained magic that makes it unique.