On Christmas Eve I saw The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon.
Elisa (Hawkins) is a mute cleaning lady at a scientific facility in the early 1960s. She leads a simple life: sleeps alone in a modest apartment; watches TV with her neighbor and prepares the same lunch every day. Her best friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) can easily communicate with her despite the fact she doesn't speak. She seems content with her situation.
One day, the horrible boss (Shannon) brings in a male sea creature that captures Elisa's attention. Though he's chained to his survival tank and has displayed violent behavior to the team, she is unafraid and begins sharing her lunch with him.
The two different species develop a friendship and soon enough Elisa is obsessed with saving the creature from a miserable fate. She enlists the help of Zelda and her neighbor (Richard Jenkins, at his comedic best), risking her job and perhaps her life.
This is a movie with everything. It has humor, sadness, fright, romance, fear—seriously, everything.
As a huge fan of director Guillermo del Toro's Pan Labyrinth, I was expecting to be entertained in an intelligent, unique way, but this soared well above and beyond even that level of greatness. Though there was more blood than I typically tolerate, none of it was gratuitous, nor was the sex or the language (and there's that too).
It's just a brilliantly acted, beautifully shot masterpiece with a beating heart.