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‘The Shape of Water’ makes a splash at the Oscars (Review)

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are main characters in the film.

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are main characters in the film.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are main characters in the film.

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The Shape of Water was nominated for thirteen Oscars this year (more than any other movie this year), including Best Picture. The film follows three protagonists, each representing a minority group in the 1960’s of Baltimore.

Elisa, a mute woman, lives with a closeted gay artist and works closely in hand with her best friend Zelda, a black woman, cleaning a government laboratory. Elisa, played by Sally Hawkins, is introduced to a mysterious creature from South America, who she refers to as a “merman.”

Throughout the film, tensions are raised between Elisa and the creature, eventually developing into an intimate relation, one that many viewers can find disturbing. It’s a film about a woman falling in love with an “alien;”  however, I left the theater feeling as if I had gained something poetic from the film, not just a weird turn in my gut from watching two hours and three minutes of borderline bestiality.

The Shape of Water becomes a beautiful tale of survival, not just for the scaly creature held captive by the American government, but of the three friends that risk their lives to protect and rescue the creature. Surrounded by societal norms, the three friends face racial, homophobic, and sexual harassment in their daily lives, showing the audience why they’re so inclined to help a creature who is found to be different from everyone else.

The plot isn’t the only beautiful part of this film. The dialogue is amazingly written; in addition to the subtitles given for Elisa’s sign language, the conversations between the characters demonstrates the love and support they have for each other. Although the film itself didn’t bring me to tears, my feelings were definitely provoked. The cinematography was beautifully done, especially when introducing the underwater elements.

This film is definitely meant for a more mature audience, as it features some disturbing and sexual conduct. However, if you’re a fan of emotionally poetic films, this is for you.


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About the Writer
Treston Johnson, Perspectives Writer
Treston Johnson is a current senior at Carlisle High School and this is his first year contributing to Periscope. When he isn’t working at the local coffee shop in downtown Carlisle, or stressing over school, he spends his time eating a bowl of Chipotle and working on Spotify playlists or reading poetry. It’s his love...
1 Comment

One Response to “‘The Shape of Water’ makes a splash at the Oscars (Review)”

  1. Bryce Walker on March 20th, 2018 8:44 am

    I very much agree with you, I feel as though this movie got a lot of undeserved hate primarily from people who have never even watched it. After watching the film myself I can confirm that it is a beautiful love story, one that shows love really is blind, and not to let your differences stand in the way of true love. It is a film I recommend to everyone I talk about it to and it was well deserved of its best picture, and best director awards at the Oscar’s.


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‘The Shape of Water’ makes a splash at the Oscars (Review)