“The Shape of Water” a princess romance
It’s difficult to discern the plot of “The Shape of Water” by watching the trailers. It turns out, the movie is a love story between a sea creature and a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins). Even more specific than a love story, it’s a fairy tale princess story at heart. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro makes that clear from the opening words in the film, in a voice over that declares all that follows the story of the “sleeping princess”. In fact, Hawkins is reminiscent of multiple princesses: Snow White and Ariel, to name just two.
While the concept behind girl-meet-boy and falls in love may be common, del Toro’s interpretation (co-written with Vanessa Taylor) is anything but. It’s magical and mystical in ways live action films rarely are; the world on-screen feels grounded and real, despite an opening that tells viewers otherwise.
There is, of course, a difference between a world that “feels real” and one which is grounded in our reality. We may buy into the fantasy of “Star Wars” without once thinking this is truly our future. Here, however, “The Shape of Water” at once creates our past and future simultaneously. It’s real and also realistic.
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