Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Actors: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon
This is essentially an old-fashioned love story. Woman meets man and they fall in love, despite adversity, common sense and the impossibility of it all.
Elisa (Hawkins) is mute, though not deaf. She’s all heart and soul, with a touch of healthy sexuality. Along with Zelda (Spencer), her job is to clean the secret facility which is experimenting on an aquatic creature discovered in the Amazon jungles. The natives consider the creature a “God,” but the lab considers him a mere specimen for study.
Strickland, the supervisor of the facility, enjoys torturing the creature and is ordered by his superiors to kill it. Elisa decides she must rescue the creature. With the help of her loyal neighbor Giles (Jenkins) and stalwart friend Zelda, she succeeds in hiding the creature in her apartment.
A beautiful scene ensues where Elisa floods her apartment in order to create a watery world where she and her aquatic creature explore their feelings for each other. The romance and charm of the scene is so simple and pure that we buy into the story, as surreal and impossible as it seems.
When the villainous Strickland discovers where the creature is hiding out, there is a showdown. Elisa manages to get her creature to the canal which leads to sea, but Strickland finds them. Shots are fired, victims are dying, and everything is falling apart. Then we see why the jungle natives view the creature as a God.
Del Toro directs this movie with wistful tenderness. It’s filled with charm, humor and an abiding belief that with all our flaws and foibles, love can elevate us all to heroic heights.
TAGS: Guillermo del Toro, Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, amphibious, water