What’s Poppin: Romance, Monsters and History

Alessia Pisciotta, Staff Writer

Guillermo del Toro is known for having a visionary mind, which has proven useful in the film industry. On Friday his latest, “The Shape of Water,” hit theatres in the U.S., months after premiering at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in August.

This story takes place in Baltimore during the early 1960’s (i.e. the Cold War). Elisa Esposito, played by Sally Hawkins, is a mute janitor at a government research lab where she meets a humanoid fish creature that is being held there for science purposes and national security. She befriends it and eventually falls madly in love with it.

Initially, it seems weird that this woman wants to be with a creature from the deep (in more ways than one). But you quickly find yourself rooting for them. It took one line for me to do that. When Elisa explained it to her best friend and neighbor Giles, played by Richard Jenkins, she was so intense without even speaking a word, it left me in awe.

“The way he looks at me,” she signed. “He doesn’t know what I lack.” This was important to her as her character felt like people looked at her differently because was mute. She felt incomplete.

This creature looks similar to the one in “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954), except Del Toro’s is quite intricate and beautiful.

This is the kind of movie that has a little bit of everything, which makes it all the more interesting. It’s part an unorthodox love story, part monster movie.

There’s bigotry and pessimism seeping out of every crack in this film, however, it also achieves beauty and moments of “this feels right.”