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The Shape of Water: everything you need to know about Guillermo del Toro's new masterpiece


A new film by Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro is always something to celebrate, right?

It's not too long now until his latest release, The Shape of Water, hits our screens, and in anticipation we've pulled together a guide to all that we know so far...

The plot

Despite early assumptions The Shape of Water is not a horror film. The official synopsis, released by Fox Searchlight, describes it as: "An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Eliza is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Her life is changed forever when she and a co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment."

Now we don't know about you, but this absolutely sounds like our kind of film, and del Toro is bound to do it justice. This is not the first time that he has used war as the setting of his film, with 2006's Pan's Labyrinth being set against the backdrop of a fascist regime in 1944 rural Spain.

However, The Shape of Water is to be a relatively more intimate film with del Toro revealing that it's "very personal".

The cast

There is no shortage of acting talent amongst this cast, with Sally Hawkins (Paddington) joined by Oscar nominees Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) as the villainous Colonel Strickland and Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher) as Eliza's neighbour Giles. Meanwhile Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) plays Eliza's confidante and co-worker Zelda. That's quite an incredible ensemble.

The production team

We already know that del Toro serves as the director, but the rest of the team is equally as impressive. Working alongside del Toro as co-writer is Vanessa Taylor, whose previous writing credits include Divergent and several episodes of Game of Thrones. She is also currently attached to the live-action Aladdin reboot, directed by Guy Ritchie.

The sumptuous musical score is by Alexandre Desplat, a French composer whose prior credits include The Grand Budapest Hotel, for which he won an Academy Award. And reuniting with del Toro as cinematographer is Dan Laustsen, having collaborated previously on Mimic and Crimson Peak.

With such a high calibre team working throughout the film, we cannot wait to see how it all comes together.

The response

Since its debut at the 74th Venice International Film Festival this past August, The Shape of Water has been subject to widespread acclaim.

Variety describes the movie as a "ravishing adult fairy tale", praising it as an "eccentric auteur’s imagining, spilling artistry, empathy and sensuality from every open pore." They add, "it also offers more straight-up movie for your money than just about any Hollywood studio offering this year."

Screened as part of the main completion it was awarded the Golden Lion award for best film in the competition, and has been hailed by critics as del Toro's best film since Pan's Labyrinth. Hawkins' performance in particular has been highly  praised with discussions surrounding Oscar nominations becoming more prominent.

Surprisingly if Hawkins or the film itself were to be nominated for Oscars this would be only the second of del Toro's films to be considered, following the six nominations received by Pan's Labyrinth in 2007.

It has been two years since del Toro's last release, and The Shape of Water cannot come soon enough. With everything we know so far, our expectations are high, and we know it won't disappoint.

So, what do you think? Will you be joining us to see The Shape of Water next year? Tweet us @Cineworld and be sure to keep an eye out before it hits our screens on 16th February 2018.

Hannah Dixon is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.

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