REVIEW: “THE SHAPE OF WATER” (2017) Fox Searchlight ~ Q & A: Guillermo del Toro & Cast

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“THE SHAPE OF WATER” is truly the definition of ‘fish out of water’ unique love story. I mean if someone told me I would get emotional at a film where a mute woman falls in love with a fish-man, I probably would have laughed in their faces. As it was, I did.

This film has absolutely so much going for it – it’s beautifully filmed, with a magnificent score and a stunning performance from Sally Hawkins. It allows the audience to discover this intimate and fascinating world of “broken” people searching for a moment of meaning. Add in a smidgen of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with a touch of ‘E.T.’, and you have a concept that captivates you from the start with it’s emotional investment into all the characters. And boy what characters they are. Assembling a first-rate cast, every single actor sparkles as it shows that every character has been developed with great care. From the mute-but-hearing Eliza (Sally Hawkins), who works as a cleaner at a secret government facility, where she becomes drawn to the new specimen: a mysterious marine fish-like man creature (Doug Jones).

While Eliza begins to fall in love with the amphibian creature, the facility head Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), steps up to stop it all as his only desire is to take the creature apart for experimental advantage against the Russians. Eliza’s bond with the creature soon begins to affect those around her including her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), and work colleague Zelda (Octavia Spencer). Not only are they the only two who decipher what Eliza ‘speaks’, but are enlisted to help her save her ‘Amphibian Man’. Add to the mix spy/scientist Robert Hoffsteder (Michael Stuhbarg), whom believes so much more can be learned with the creature alive, and you’ve got yourself one of the most imaginative stories that exudes humanity and strength, suspense and love, all put together to provide a great balance and one of the best original stories I’ve seen.

Beautiful from start to finish, like some sort of fantasy, romantic, heartbreaking, emotional lovestory all wrapped up in one, and while not without a few little flaws here and there, “The Shape of Water” was completely beautiful to me. And while other studios are recycling stories or offering up sequels, Fox Searchlight has stepped it up at the end of 2017 here to put out two of the best and most original films I’ve seen in some time. I not only applaud them for this, but hope this trend continues.

Grade: A
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Film Independent
‘SHAPE OF WATER’ IS NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE – WORLDWIDE RELEASE TO BEGIN IN JAN/FEB 2018


POST Q & A WITH: Moderator/Curator: Elvis Micthcell; Dir/Prod: Guillermo del Toro; Actors: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg; Producer: J. Miles Dale & Composer: Alexandre Desplat

First and foremost – Your Q & A is sometimes highly dependent on your moderator and of all the Q & A’s I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of, he is by far one of the best moderators and truly nice guys out there. His knowledge and deep appreciation for film is felt, along with a great sense of humour. That being said, del Toro is also one of the most amusing, fun guys for anyone to have a chat with. His ease of making jokes, and he makes many, makes it even more fun to be able to get a chance to listen to him, speak and ask fun questions.

Del Toro said that he had the idea for the film and went to a party which he was invited to by none other than Alejandro Iñárritu where he had said to come over and get drunk..about 20 shots later and they all agreed ‘make the movie!’. Then Hawkins launched into how they came about to doing this project together. Upon meeting Hawkins at a Golden Globes party, Del Toro told her: “I’m writing a movie for you where you fall in love with a fishman.” Hawkins replied: “Great!” And with Doug Jones & Richard Jenkins – he pitched it to them while at a sushi dinner!!!
Jenkins laughed that he got his role—of Hawkins’ character Elisa’s lonely, verbose neighbor Giles—when “Ian McKellan called in sick.” For the role of marine scientist/Soviet double-agent Hoffstetler, Stuhlbarg lamented that the script called for him to deliver his character’s most significant scene sans pants.

If the sets looked familiar to any of you – they might, as a lot of them were used from del Toro’s TV show “The Strand” which made it so much easier to keep the budget on a tight leash. When noted
“When I walked on the set I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my life. It was like a painting,” said Jenkins, saying of Del Toro: “This guys speaks in film language.”

The film’s production is even more impressive given its relatively paltry—for an effects-heavy fantasy film—$19.5 million final budget. “We were counting the number of lobsters that we could have on-screen,” said Del Toro. He also teased producer Dale over the removal of one elaborate (and expensive) sequence set at a bus stop. But the filmmakers’ fastidious paid off. Remarkably, the production came in $100,000 under budget.

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10 top TV shows I’m watching right now

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And you should be too!! It’s been awhile since I’ve done this list and so many shows have come & gone..too many of my favs ending their series runs like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mad Men & Justified all in the same year for crimeny sakes. Luckily a few good news ones have popped up and I will be updating this every few weeks from now on. Now onto some great TV….
red road
THE RED ROAD (Sundance Channel)
Martin Henderson & Jason Momoa are really outstanding in this show. They play the best hardcore ‘frenemies’ I’ve seen in quite some time in a show that’s refreshingly different from the same ol’ cops & robbers genre.

the blacklist

THEBLACKLIST (NBC)

James Spader.. enough said. He is fantastic here. Add in a now all grown up-looking amazing -from 90210 –Ryan Eggold doing some decent work and Diego Klattenhoff stepping up in a good supporting and you have yourself a pretty damn good show. Megan Boone as the female lead, for some reason can be the only thorn in my side in some episodes though most everything revolves around her. I also love the complete diversity of what this cast does.

goldbergs

THE GOLDBERGS (ABC)
I’m sorry but their “Ferris Bueller” episode a few weeks ago was so so so very spot on and had me laughing harder than I have in some time. Every episode brings me back to what at the time, I thought was the worst period in my life.. turns out it was the best and Wendi McClendon-Covey kills it every single week as the mom. The whole family is just so spot on.. If you’re not watching this show, you clearly didn’t grow up in the best decade EVER!! 🙂
broolyn 99

BROOKLYN NINE NINE (FOX)
SURPRISE! Another comedy for me which is unusual because I’m very picky on my comedies as shockingly enough, I actually prefer them to be funny. And this one is. The whole cast is so deadpan spot on and work so well together I can’t stop laughing each and every episode.

Syfy_12-Monkeys_E

12 MONKEYS (SyFy)
I’m telling you..Syfy channel has been rocking it and really stepped up their game in the last few years. This show being one of the reasons and one of the best ones on TV right now period. Each episode has upped itself a notch and Aaron Stanford, Kirk Acevedo & Amanda Shull truly take this show to the next level. So granted it took me 3 episodes to realize it was based on the Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie, but give me a break, that was 1995!!!

broadchurch

BROADCHURCH (BBC AMERICA)
You know I love my British dramas. The first season of this show was mind-bogglingly good. Then they tried the American-ized version Gracepoint with a great cast, including David Tennant whom they said ‘couldn’t be understood by audiences in the U.K. version’ reallly.. I had no problem and still have no problem understanding him, but the U.S. version was quite awful. So now we are on Season 2 and it’s carried on from season 1 so well which I think was the big question everyone had. Could it be as good? The answer is yes.

the good wife

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
After a spectacular Season 5 where this show had some of the best writing I’d seen in a while for network TV.. Season 6 came back with a new firm, Florrick, Lockhart & Agos and has been a bit of a roller coaster at times swinging back n forth between good at times, but a bit confusing. But as of this past Sunday, WHOA! Don’t miss this show people.. it’s what Scandal etc. wish they could be.

Vikings

VIKINGS (HISTORY)
So it’s probably not exact history, but then what really is. We don’t know how the Vikings sounded or exactly what language they spoke, but we do know a lot of their history based upon their gods and what happened between them & the Christians. And we know they discovered America way before Columbus did and were amazing navigators & shipbuilders for their time. We also know that they were true warriors and yes, raided other countries to death. Travis Fimmel has found his calling in this role. He is perfect as King Ragnar and Clive Standen as his brother Rollo is just plain badass.. oh did I mention they are hot..well yeah, they are but the show is also reeeally good and Kathryn Winnick as the bad-ass Lagertha tops this cast off showing true girl power. This is not only a well done good show, it’s entertaining as end all.

mad men

MAD MEN (AMC)
Where would we be without Don Draper??!! Much less entertained in my opinion. This show has stunned us, made us look back in our pasts to see where our futures are.. reminded us of a way things were done not all that long ago, and done it so stylishly we’ve all just fell in love with it. The fact that this show is one of the shows I love that is ending, makes it all the harder to look forward to these last episodes. Don, Peggy, Ken, Pete, Betty, Joan, Harry, Roger and all the rest whom we grown so fond of..let’s smoke one last cigarette together while mixing a drink at work..at noon!

justified

JUSTIFIED (FX)
Oh Raylan..oh Boyd.. oh Ava.. how I will miss you so. I wouldn’t know where to begin or end with how much I love this show and how good this final season is. We are at the very end, and 3 things I will miss most.. the witty amazing dialogue, the fantastic acting by Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel and Nick Searcy along with the rest of the absolutely fantastic co-stars & guest stars that have made this show, and the opening song.. Something I never fast forward through. Oh and producers/directors/writers/FX network ~ can you please give Rachel (Erica Tazel) & Tim (Jacob Pitts) there own spin-off show..pretty please.