I’ve been a Guillermo Del Toro fan for many years; after seeing Pan’s Labyrinth very late one night I’ve devoured all his films and adored his wonderful nightmare fairy-tale film-scapes.
He is a modern Grim Brother; creating worlds where men are monsters, princesses not save themselves but sometimes their heroes and real “monsters” get the girl.
It’s your standard girl meets boy story, but the girl is a mute night cleaner in a 60s secret government facility and the boy is the creature from the black lagoon. The story focuses on Elisa’s day to day and the Facilities night to night and how the new ‘guest’ in the facility not only shakes up security but turns Elisa’s world upside down.
Sally Hawkins (Submarine,Paddington) plays our heroine, Elisa who is unique and adorably quirky, you instantly warm to her whimsical routine, her beautiful attitude to life and alternative, silent grace. Doug Jones plays our creature, who is a veteran of Del Toro’s films and wherever you have seen a tall creepy creature in a film or TV series it was probably Doug Jones.
Our villain, Michael Shannon (midnight Special, Elvis& Nixon) is arrogant and full of malice. He upholds his idealist normality, is offended by anything he doesn’t understand and quick to anger.
It has a fantastic and varied supporting cast of; Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, The Help) as Zelda, Elisa friend/co-worker, Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under, Let me In) as Giles, her out of work artist neighbour/confidant and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk empire,Fargo) As Dr. Robert Hoffstetler, the quiet sympathetic scientist who isn’t who he seems.
Our clandestine lovers bond in a cookie cutter time that has an undercurrent, secrets and intolerance. A time where anything that is different is met with animosity, suspicion or violence. Their lyrical happiness is quickly cut short. Can Elisa devise a way to help her companion? Will they get a happy ending?
De Toro has painted a watercolour world for his characters with ethereal. quaint set designs and a script that hits you in all the feels. This film will make you cry, laugh, wince and blush. It will show you a weird, real, wacky love paired with an unspeakable violence sprinkled in a 60s nostalgia. Stories within stories and a delicate sense of déjà vu mixed superb originality and beauty.
I couldn’t recommend this film more; it completely deserves the awards it has won so far and I am very hopeful it will win all the Oscars it is nominated for. It is now my Favourite of his films and I haven’t stopped going on at anyone I know to go see it immediately, go now, stop reading this and go see it!
Thanks to the awesome @denofgeekUK for the screening invite.