The Shape of Water | Chicago Reader

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water, the latest fantasy from director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), is essentially a children's movie for adults, inspiring a sense of wonder but also of passivity. It looks marvelous—one can easily get caught up in the lavish production design and inventive special effects, and the graceful camera movements carry one through the meticulously designed environments. The storytelling is fantastic and straightforward, like that of a fairy tale. Yet The Shape of Water is also a patronizing film; del Toro and his cowriter, Vanessa Taylor, tell viewers what to think and feel at every turn, then congratulate them for responding appropriately. Set in the early 1960s, the film depicts the social mores of that era in simple, black-and-white terms to make contemporary audiences feel good about their modern, liberal values. Its primary aim is to reassure. Continue reading >>



  • Guillermo del Toro


  • Sally Hawkins
  • Michael Shannon
  • Richard Jenkins
  • Octavia Spencer
  • Michael Stuhlbarg
  • Doug Jones
  • David Hewlett
  • Nick Searcy
  • Stewart Arnott
  • Nigel Bennett
  • Lauren Lee Smith
  • Martin Roach
  • Allegra Fulton
  • John Kapelos
  • Morgan Kelly


  • Guillermo del Toro
  • J. Miles Dale
  • Liz Sayre

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