The 477th film I have seen in theaters…
One of the best films I’ve ever seen
Elisa is a mute woman living in Baltimore and works as a cleaning lady in a secret government lab. One day, they bring in a creature from South America, an amphibian creature that walks like a human. She forms a connection to this being and they fall in love. She hatches a scheme to break him out of the lab before an evil Colonel dissects him.
Sally Hawkins has the Oscar for best actress locked. She delivers an INCREDIBLE performance as Elisa without uttering a single word. She acts her heart out, leaving all of her emotions on screen for us to experience.
Michael Shannon is shockingly, deceivingly, great. He makes it look effortless. His Colonel Strickland is a fascinating character, the real monster of the piece. My respect for this guy has reached a point where if it features Shannon, I will see it.
Richard Jenkins plays Elisa’s neighbor, a former advertising artist that is without a job thanks to photography. He is a man lost in the world, gay in a time when it was still “wrong” to be so. This is a actor that has a freakish knack for exploring human frailty, vulnerability, in his choice of roles. I think he’s getting the supporting actor Oscar.
Doug Jones, whom I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting 10 years ago, is an actor who’s time has come. His gangly physique has allowed him to play all manner of fantastical creatures over the years (Abe Sapien/ Silver Surfer). 2017 was the year he truly emerged. He was fantastic here as the Amphibian, using expert physical acting to bring this creature to life. I can’t even imagine acting in this rubber suit UNDERWATER! He has hit gold here, and on Star Trek Discovery where he has become a fan favorite as Commander Saru, now acting Captain of the Discovery. Good on you Doug!
This film also features one of my favorite performers, Michael Stuhlbarg as the lead scientist at the lab, also a Soviet spy. He gets a really meaty role as a guy that goes against his Soviet handlers to do the right thing and help Elisa. A great actor.
Finishing the main cast is Octavia Spencer as Zelda, Elisa’s co-worker. She does good work here as a supporting character, and brings a lot to the role. She has the Supporting Actress nomination but I don’t think the work here can match Laurie Metcalf or Allison Janney this year.
Pan’s Labyrinth was an outstanding movie. I put this film above it. Del Toro is one of the 10, maybe 5, best directors working today. This was a masterpiece, a truly perfect film. The acting, the design, the cinematography, the beautiful music, the themes, the make up work on Jones, it all works. It took me a few months to finally see this, but it was worth the wait. This could win Best Picture this year. It was that good, but 2017 was one of the best years for Oscar films in a while. Most of the main categories and really tight. I love this movie. 10/10