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American Airlines Gala

The Shape of Water

Master of things that go bump in the night, Guillermo del Toro spins the compelling tale of friendship between a mute woman and an amphibious creature.

Credits

Dir Guillermo del Toro
Prod Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale
Scr Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
With Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
USA
2017
123min
UK Distribution Twentieth Century Fox

Drawing on classic 1950s sci-fi B-movies and the on-going fascination with Area 51 conspiracy theories, Guillermo del Toro’s sprightliest tale of the inexplicable is an old-school cinematic joy. At the height of the Cold War, in a secret US laboratory, a young, mute woman begins to communicate with a strange, aquatic creature. Elisa (Sally Hawkins), whose only friends are her gay artist neighbour (Richard Jenkins) and a fellow cleaner (Octavia Spencer), is alarmed by the behaviour of research head Strickland (a deliciously cruel Michael Shannon), who sees the creature as nothing more than an oversized lab rat. A fellow scientist (Michael Stuhlbarg) of dubious connections is decidedly more curious, especially when he sees a bond forming between Elisa and the creature. Intertwining sci-fi, horror and gothic romance to spellbinding effect, del Toro’s singular vision is enhanced by Dan Laustsen’s (Crimson Peak) vivid cinematography and Alexandre Desplat’s hypnotic score, which runs the gamut from high-wire thrills to the stirringly romantic. Hawkins, always the most empathetic of actors, is a marvel and she ensures that Elisa’s fierce desire to fight for what’s right never eclipses her sense of innocence. Love takes many shape-shifting forms and this intoxicating film is a pure celebration of tolerance and human connection.

Clare Stewart

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Guillermo Del Toro, Director; Richard Jenkins, Cast

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.

Additional information

The screenings on Tue 10 and Wed 11 Oct have an audio-description soundtrack for customers who are blind or partially sighted. Headphones are available on request.

The screening on Fri 13 Oct has English language subtitles, including descriptions of non-dialogue audio, for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.


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