• My Rating: 89%

I had the rare pleasure of watching this movie with my wife. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but it does influence me. The Shape of Water has what I would dearly like to see more of from Hollywood: It has creative originality that isn’t afraid to punch your right in the face with its humor and bold handling of the human condition. I have to say, I think Michael Shannon absolutely steals the movie. He owned Boardwalk Empire as Agent Nelson Van Alden. He owned this movie as Colonel Richard Strickland.Crude, creepy, racist, sexist, violent, stoic and explosive. He did it all and I found myself thinking “I can’t wait to see what he says or does next” throughout the film. The movie takes little time at all in letting you know it is a fantasy, and so my suspension of disbelief meter was set very low. As a room filled with water from a running faucet my wife exclaimed “come on, that’s not realistic.” I laughed and said “what part of this move is realistic?” The one part of the experience that completely knocked both of us off the rails was the fantasy within the fantasy – the “ballroom dancing on stage” scene (I call it, perhaps inaccurately). Though I understood that a lot of small details were sprinkled in the storyline to tie it in, it’s still a minute or two better suited for the editing room floor. The whole movie was so wonderfully unexpected, I found myself a bit disappointed by an ending I easily predicted. Even with that, I thought it was a wonderful, enjoyable experience that made me laugh out loud and “lean into the screen” in anticipation of what would happen next. Similarly, I will rush to the theater to see whatever Guillermo del Toro does next. Instead of “keep it real” I say to him, “keep it original.”

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