The Shape of Water (2017)


Critic Consensus: The Shape of Water finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best -- and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance.


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Movie Info

From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER - an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones and Michael Stuhlbarg.

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Sally Hawkins
as Elisa Esposito
Michael Shannon
as Strickland
Doug Jones
as Amphibian Man
Michael Stuhlbarg
as Robert Hoffstetler
Lauren Lee Smith
as Elaine Strickland
Nick Searcy
as General Hoyt
Nigel Bennett
as Mihalkov
Martin Roach
as Brewster Fuller
John Kapelos
as Mr. Arzoumanian
Morgan Kelly
as Pie Guy
Marvin Kaye
as Burly Russian
Dru Viergever
as Military Policeman
Wendy Lyon
as Sally (Secretary)
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Critic Reviews for The Shape of Water

All Critics (389) | Top Critics (46)

The movie's worldview is as easy to like as the protagonist and her friends, but del Toro lays it on so thick that there's no room for counterargument or even independent thought.

Dec 26, 2017 | Full Review…

"The Shape of Water" is director Guillermo del Toro's finest film, a lovely, empathetic tribute to Old Hollywood, monster movies, outsiders and love that could only come from the mind of the visionary filmmaker.

Dec 22, 2017 | Rating: A | Full Review…

The more I try to find some kind of justifiable meaning and relevance, the more I find The Shape of Water a loopy, lunkheaded load of drivel.

Dec 19, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The visual stylist spins an adult fairy tale that takes elements from "Beauty and the Beast" and recasts them in an alternative universe that's a wonderfully rendered twist on our own.

Dec 14, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

"The Shape of Water" is one of the best films of the year.

Dec 14, 2017 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

You never know where "The Shape of Water" is going. But, like water, you let it engulf you and sweep you away.

Dec 13, 2017 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Shape of Water


The world del Toro created was both visually appealing and unique, but the story of girl meets fish-boy did not resonate with me the way it did with the Academy. Score was fantastic.

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer


While the set-up, production design, acting and directing is flawless I found myself a tad underwhelmed by the film after so much praise. It's the story. Once you heard the premise you can pretty much figure out the entire plot. That's a little disappointing for such an unusual and ambitious project. A lot of Del Toro's quirky trademarks are there, but it's a surprisingly mainstream film, if bestiality doesn't bother you.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


If this is not the 2017 Best Picture winner at the Oscars then I don't know what. Del Toro, writer and director, chooses to keep his leads silent, thereby broadening their appeal in this story about loneliness and separation, and the joy of discovering that that is not exactly so. Like lasagna, there are many levels to this, kudos to cinema, music, dance, photography, to humanity, to love ... it is a tour de force of a work, meant to be experienced more than simply just once. And Hawkins is a revelation.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


The Shape of Water is an ingenious fantasy romance that utilizes cold war era elements to the advantage of its premise while subtly challenging our preconceived notions of established archetypes. Del Toro has an innate understanding of portraying beauty of purity in all it's forms while simultaneously showing us the grotesque underbelly and brutality of what it is to be human. These skills help him build a boy meets girl (or girl meets creature xP) fairytale with a believable yet dynamic supporting cast. The story is equal parts gripping as it is touching, overcoming it's formulaic approach by using unlikely characterization and story elements that come seamlessly together. Adding the films success to his repertoire definitely showcases Del Toro's ability to adapt and excel in multiple genres.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

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