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Senior Citizen Kane Club: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro, a master of all things fantastical and allegorical, offers us a delicate romantic love story for our time with The Shape of Water. Drawing on his love of B-movies and dark fairy tales, his new film is a strange magical beast with a huge heart. Sally Hawkins is glorious as the plucky heroine who falls in love with a sensitive and rather sexy water creature (the superb Doug Jones, who played the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth).

“We dare you to not be charmed…”

Mute since childhood, Eliza Esposito (Hawkins) is a lowly cleaner employed on the night shift with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) at a high-security government laboratory. Her life revolves around her carefully structured routine of domestic chores and work, peppered with visits to her devoted ageing neighbour Giles (the wonderful Richard Jenkins). After encountering a mysterious creature being kept in a tank by the menacing agent Strickland (Michael Shannon) at a secret lab, her sheltered world is changed forever. Eliza is drawn to the aqua man and slowly, the two begin to communicate, build a connection and ultimately fall in love. When his life is threatened, she is determined to do everything she can to save him, with the help of some unlikely allies.

With its brown and blue 1960s cold war aesthetic, The Shape of Water creates a world full of detail that is entirely make-believe, whilst staying utterly believable. Amélie meets Creature from the Black Lagoon is the best way we can describe this beautiful concoction, one which can only have come out of the mind of a genius film lover like del Toro. We dare you to not be charmed by one of the most romantic films of the year.