Guillermo del Toro’s new movie, The Shape of Water, has all the markings of a traditional Guillermo del Toro movie: it’s beautiful, full of fantastical creatures and inherently sad.
The Shape of Water takes place in a secret government organization, set against the backdrop of the Cold War in 1963. Elisa is a lonely and misunderstood woman who doesn’t have the ability to speak. She spends her days and nights inside a secret government laboratory, surrounded by strange creatures and barking officials. When Elisa and her co-worker, Zelda, stumble upon a secret experiment, everything changes.
When Elisa forms a bond with one of the creatures, a monster who understands her and learns to communicate with her despite the fact that she can’t speak, her view of the world begins to change. While Elisa is ready to embrace the alien, the only thing that brings her joy in her mundane, day-to-day life, others have concerns about the strange and slimy otherworldly being.
“You may think that thing looks human — it stands on two legs, right,” Strickland, an officer who works at the lab, tells Elisa in one scene. "But we're created in the Lord's image. You don't think that's what the Lord looks like, do you?”
Described as a fairytale story, del Toro’s new movie will still incorporate some of the more traditional monster elements that his previous films have included. It seems to be more in the vein of Pan’s Labyrinth than Crimson Peak, the director’s 2015 movie about a haunted victorian house.
The Shape of Water will be released on Dec. 8.