nanci’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me.”
It’s taken me 2 days to collect my thoughts about this film, and even now I can’t think about it without my chest feeling all heavy. Although it took me a while to articulate what I want to say about this film, I knew immediately that this was a 5 star film for me. I knew immediately that I wanted The Shape of Water to win Best Picture at the Oscars. I knew immediately that Sally Hawkins deserves the Academy Award for Best Actress.
As I said before, I knew this was a 5 star film. But, upon reflection, I don’t deserve to rate this film. It feels wrong for me to try and quantify such a gorgeous, wistful film into a star rating on a website. It should be enough for us that this film just exists. Furthermore, I know that this film should have a place in my favourite films. But again, it feels wrong for me to look at this film in relation to others. The Shape of Water is simply not comparable to anything else. It exists all on its own. It does not need to be analysed, it is enough for Del Toro’s masterpiece to just exist in a world of its own, in a genre of its own.
There is one particular scene in this film that I want to mention aside from everything else. In this scene Elisa is trying to convince Gilles to help her. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a scene that made me feel this way. You know in Blackfish how they talk about when the baby whales got taken away from their mum and the mum was so sad that she created a whole new sound that scientists had never heard before to represent how she felt? Well I think that this scene in The Shape of Water led to the creation of a whole new feeling I have never felt before. It made me want to scream (which I didn’t) and cry (which I definitely did) and thinking about it now I’m having heart palpitations.
I really don’t know what else to say about this. I don’t want to analyse the technicalities of this film in great detail for two reasons:
1. it would just be a great long repetitive paragraph of me saying “yep the direction was perfect” “yep the cinematography was perfect” “yep the performances were perfect” etc etc.
2. for me, this film is a whole product. it is not the compilations of quantitative audio and visual data. It is what it is. It is the message it’s trying to portray. It is the fairytale and the tragedy. It is beauty and it is heartache. This film isn’t a film, it’s a feeling.