By Michael Donelan, E23 Reporter

“The Shape of Water” is showing at Ragtag Cinema through Tuesday, February 20.

Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is a whimsical and gorgeous fairy tale that is sure to please moviegoers all around with its beautiful cinematography, intriguing story and wonderful performances.

Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman living in 1960s Baltimore. She lives a life of routine, waking up at 11:00 p.m. every night and working as a cleaner in a government lab through the early hours of the morning. She confides in people such as her kind-hearted neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) and her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), both of whom are able to communicate with Elisa through sign language.

While cleaning an area of the lab, Elisa makes a discovery that will change her life forever. An amphibious man (Doug Jones) has been captured in the Amazon and is being held in the lab to be observed by scientists like Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg). Elisa and the man immediately take a liking to one another, realizing they see each other in a way that no one else does. When Elisa overhears head of lab security, Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon), planning to kill the man, Elisa devises a plan to break him out and rescue her new love.

Official image from "The Shape of Water"

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) mouths off in sign language when her and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) are being interrogated. (Source: Vimeo)

“The Shape of Water” is a beautiful, thought-provoking film that is sure to become a new classic. The performances in the film are incredible. Sally Hawkins, nominated for an Academy Award this year for Best Actress, shines as Elisa. Hawkins is able to convey such emotion and character depth without saying a single word. Michael Shannon is perfect as the overbearing and power-hungry Colonel Strickland, and Michael Stuhlbarg is phenomenal as the doctor and secret Russian spy Robert Hoffstetler. I also loved Octavia Spencer as the hilarious and strong Zelda and Richard Jenkins as the creative and caring Giles. Spencer and Jenkins are both nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Actor.

“The Shape of Water” has been called the “La La Land” of this year due to its high number of Oscar nominations (13 in total) and its callbacks to old Hollywood films. The gorgeous score by Alexandre Desplat and the overall aesthetic of the film really give it a Golden Age feel. There is a scene that is shot in black and white that is absolutely beautiful. When watching, the viewer can tell how much del Toro cared for the film and how much time he put into making sure the final result was what he wanted.

Official image from "The Shape of Water"

Elisa and the amphibious man embrace in an underwater kiss. (Source: Vimeo)

“The Shape of Water” is a breathtaking journey through a woman’s unconventional love story and is not one to miss in the movie theater.

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