In 1962, in the depths of the Cold War, deep in a cold concrete maze of hallways and vault doors, there is a secret laboratory. In that laboratory, in a steel tank, within a secured and unnamed room, there is a secret within that secret: an amphibious, man-like creature captured by the US government from the untamed wilds of a South American jungle and subjected to experiments in confinement. Both of these secrets are known to Elisa (Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky, Blue Jasmine), a clever and unassuming woman employed as a janitor and largely ignored because of her mute condition. But Eliza knows more than almost anybody in the lab. Over time, she and the creature spark a friendship. They communicate about their own worlds, so different from each other’s. And maybe more secrets unfold in the heart of this romantic, fantastic, horrific puzzle box of a film by master Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, Crimson Peak).
The trailer has been intriguing audiences for half a year with its gem-like visual perfection and the audacity of its humor, its eeriness and its humanity. Del Toro has called it his “favorite movie that [he’s] done” and the work that he is “proudest of.” Also starring Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Nocturnal Animals) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, Fruitville Station), The Shape of Water is the paradoxical story of an otherworldly connection of two souls, and it would be equally at home in a book of fairy tales or an anthology of science fiction. And like all significant works of art, you can’t fully comprehend its secret until you’re personally in its presence.
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