Apart from Marvel’s celebrated “Black Panther,” last Wednesday brought us two Oscar films “Darkest Hour” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” This Wednesday, get ready for two more what with the opening of “The Shape of Water” and “The Post.”
The Shape of Water, which has earned itself 13 Oscar nominations this year, is at once bizarre, beautiful and poetic. It is a mix of monster movie, film noir, love story and fairy tale.
It can also be classified as a tale of fear, anger, love and loneliness with no less than Guillermo del Toro sitting in the director’s chair.
While del Toro is already in his early 50’s, anyone who has followed his career knows part of him is still very much that little boy grew up in Mexico loving monster movies, ghost stories and fables; he is a man who can still tap into that wonder, awe and purity that children have but at the same time be able to deal with adult themes.
The movie is set in 1962 when the United States is in the thick of a cold war. Government agent Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) captures an amphibian man (Doug Jones) and holds it in a special research facility to study and see if any of its secrets can benefit the US government.
Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute janitress working at the facility, is not repulsed by the tortured creature. Instead, she slowly learns to communicate with him and eventually develop a very special bond. With the help of her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) and a scientist named Bob (Michael Stuhlbarg), she attempts to set him free.
Of her sweet and silent character, Hawkins says, “It takes her by surprise that she has this incredible steeliness. She becomes somebody she didn’t know she was, and sees all that she is capable of.”
Del Toro has actually selected a dream cast in terms of talent—incredible lead, supporting actors and character actors—and there’s so much interesting trivia about them.
For example, Doug Jones has worked with del Toro for twenty years now—as the Faun in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Abe Sapien in “Hellboy,” Lady Sharpe in “Crimson Peak” and The Ancient in “The Strain.” Michael Stuhlbarg, meanwhile, is in two other Oscar nominated films this year: “Call Me By Your Name” and The Post.
The Post, which also opens today has two nominations—Best Director, Steven Spielberg and Best Actress Meryl Streep, this is her 21st nomination.
Set in the early ‘70s, The Post chronicles a time when then-US President tried to have both the New York Times and the Washington Post shut down due to reportage on the Pentagon Papers.
Streep plays Post publisher Katharine Graham who must decide between friendship, business and her gut and principles. Tom Hanks, on the other hand, plays her executive editor Ben Bradlee.
The Post is incredibly relevant as it shares the importance of a healthy press and an independent judiciary to a democracy.