I get it. I get why this is the frontrunner.
‘The Shape of Water’ checks off so many boxes, even to a film geek like me. Non traditional love story? Check. Feels super original in the land of remaking everything? Check. Non verbal lead character? Check. Character actors who character actors worship (Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlberg?) Check check check.
In a year where all the Best Director nominees will argue their man (or woman!) did the best job this year, it’s going to be hard to argue against Del Toro’s vision here. A…’creature’ is captured in Cold War era America and brought to a secret location. He forms a bond with a mute cleaning lady and the two fall in love. I mean…COME ON!!!
It’s del Toro so you know it’s beautiful to look at; the creature looks ‘real’ within the world they’ve created; the cast is solid from top to bottom. The biggest nit pick (if you want to call it that) is if the viewer is willing to go all in on what’s essentially a fantasy film.
The nominations would say yes. We’ll find it in another month if that translates to wins.