“Unable to recognize his shape
I found you around me
Your presence filled your eyes with love
It makes my heart happy
Because you are everywhere. “
After watching the movie “Guillermo del Toro”, my mind is constantly haunted by these lines of poetry. Like the voice of the narrator in the movie, when thinking of Elisa, thinking of The Shape of Water, I remember the “poem whispered by those in love, hundreds of years ago.” The film is a love story between her mute workers named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and the sea monster was detained by the US government. When the film was released, many people said that the film is only a sexual love story between two individuals. But from the perspective of a girl who has fallen in love and is in love, and feels the movie with her heart rather than with her academic mind, the first thing I see is that between Elisa and the mermaid are pure love. , love between single individuals, defects and perfect each other, love to overcome and break the line between species. Not only that, The Shape of Water is a movie with characters of different lifetimes, reinterpreting a true American society, not only in the 60s, but also a part of that society. still exists to this day.
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The lonely people in the prejudiced society
The Shape of Water, set in Baltimore, USA, during the Cold War, is a story of loneliness, discrimination and social stigma.
Elisa is orphaned and dumb, working in a secret US government research facility in Baltimore. She is the representative of the disabled and is considered the burden of society. Her daily life is repetitively repetitive. The only friends in her life are her sister colleague Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins).
Zelda is a black man who is despised by whites, who are not even respected by their husbands. Zelda is obviously representing the black community of people who are discriminated against and despised. But Zelda always protects Elisa – the weak and defective girl. Zelda is also a feminist symbol because she is strong and independent, never depending on her husband.
Giles is a talented painter but falls into unemployment due to the expansion of modern technology. He nurtured a hopeless love for the handsome bakery owner near his home and was chased away by the gentleman. Giles represents the gay community – who are stigmatized by society. Those who have an unfortunate destiny, living alone near the end of life because of social prejudice and always feel “born too early or too late” to the age where they live.
Even the villain of the movie – Strickland (Michael Shannon) – a stern, stern, stubborn man who always gets annoyed and carries a kennel, in a sense, is a lonely man Strickland is lonely in his soul because he does not spend any space on love, all he needs is power, matter and sex. He was never satisfied despite having beautiful wife, beautiful daughter. What he wanted was a new car and left Baltimore, to a busier, more luxurious place to live.
But the monster (Doug Jones) is the lone character in the film. Strickland brought what he calls “trash” from a river in South America, where he was worshiped by the people as a god. Whether it’s a god or a monster, his life has always been lonely, just as Giles said when he got home from the lab. The monster never knew sign language, music, compassion, and love until he met Elisa.
Pure love breaks the boundaries of species
The feeling that Elisa gave to the original sea monster was sympathy, then it grew into love. She loved him not because he was a sea monster, but because he saw her true self. He saw her as a normal woman and not a defective person. He, like her, is the sole and imperfect person in this life.
Many people think that this is a sensual love, but there is no love in the world is not related to sex? Sex is the love between Elisa and the sea monster sublimation. Because they can not communicate with each other verbally, they can only communicate by sign language, by eye, by action, and by sex, which is one of the tools for them to express their love. myself.
Sexuality was never the first reason that Elisa loved the sea monster. Elisa is defective, but she is still a normal woman like every other woman. She also has her own physiological needs, but the need arises from the desire to love and be loved rather than simply satisfying herself. Elisa has been lonely for so long, but she still has self-esteem and knows what is the limit, typically when she runs away from Strickland when he is seduced by her. Elisa stops satisfying her physiological needs every morning when she falls in love with the sea monster (her movie scene in front of the bath and smiles). By that time, she knew who she loved and just wanted to bond her body to that person.
Sex is a symbolic element del Toro added to show that the love between Elisa and the sea monster completely broke the line between species.
Fairy tale for adults
The beautiful Shape of Water is a fairy tale, like another version of Beauty and the Beast, but is a fairy tale for adults. However, The Shape of Water is not beautiful, but only a woman with no voice, the monster in the movie does not turn into a handsome prince. Elisa has no shimmer, no voice, but she has a pure heart and is full of love, always longing for love and being loved. Like Elisa, the sea monster has no voice and is not as beautiful, but he has the ability to heal others. In Belle’s Beauty and the Beastie, Belle is the perfect Beast, helping him return as a handsome prince. In The Shape of Water, both Elisa and the sea monster complete. Del Toro does not build scripts in the same direction as the Beauty and the Beast. The thing that he wanted to bring to the audience was the love between imperfect people, insights through actions, eye contact without any words, not trying to change to satisfy the enemy that accept defects and the same perfect.
Besides, del Toro also indirectly expressed sincere love, accept sacrificing everything that Elisa for the sea monster through the language of the Bible. At the beginning of the film, after screening scenes of Elisa’s daily life every morning, the camera pulls down to the scene of the cinema beneath the old apartment. At that time, the screen of the movie was screening The Story of Ruth, Henry Koster’s adaptation of Ruth’s book, a book about the Bible. This movie is shown several times in the movie, and it is obvious that del Toro is deliberately doing so because it contains a very deep symbol. The most famous part of the Book of Ruth is that when Ruth, a Moab woman, married a Jew and after her husband died, she accepted the life and faith of the Jews, pleading Ask your mother-in-law to live in Israel.
“Do not ask me to leave or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. ”
It is no coincidence that del Toro puts The Story of Ruth in The Shape of Water. Ruth’s words to Naomi are often read during wedding ceremonies. Those words express the devotion and sacrifice of a person when he loves, accepts everything of his beloved, and whether he leaves, the love is still intact.
It’s a fairy tale, of course The Shape of Water also has a happy ending. But to get that happy ending, the characters have to go through a lot of bitterness. And it is not only the end of the two who live happily ever after, but it is also the result of faith and hope that the power of love can actually break the boundaries of humanity. Build and isolate people who are different from them. The Shape of Water reminds us that each human being is born as beautiful and pure as the nature of water, even the defective. The relationship between a dumb girl and a dreamy boy sounds strange and unreal, but through the movie language of del Toro, this love is pure and beautiful in a strange way.