I saw a film called Delicatessen when I was in college that changed how I felt about movies forever. It’s from two French directors (Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and is about a post-apocalyptic apartment building where tenants who fail to pay rent are turned into lunch meat for the deli. Yes, it’s a bit of a horror movie but Delicatessen is also a black comedy and, believe it or not, a tender love story. It showed me that, in the right circumstances, a movie can be a little bit of everything and still pull it off in the most spectacular way.
I think that writer-director Guillermo del Toro must have been watching Delicatessen when he conceived The Shape of Water.
It stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a housekeeper at a hidden government laboratory where she discovers a top-secret asset. Is it a dangerous monster, or something far more human? A surprising relationship forms between the two as the Russians close in and a battle over the discovery ensues. Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg round out what’s sure to be an Oscar nominated cast.
The Shape of Water is a beast of a movie, managing to be a little bit of everything and achieving it all. It’s weird and funny, sadder and sexier that anything I’ve seen in ages (probably since I watched Delicatessen in that college theater so many years ago).
It’s not often that I can give away passes to one of my Top 5 Movies of the Year, but I can today. Continue reading →