In the 1960s a mute cleaner Elisa forms a very unique relationship with a creature that is being held captive in a top-secret research facility.
The story is set against the backdrop of Cold War era America, Elisa and her co-worker and friend Zelda accidentally stumble upon the creature one evening when they are cleaning. Elisa feels extremely alone and isolated in the world and has Giles as her closest friend who lives next door, he has his own problems as well. When Richard Strickland turns up with the creature which is highly classified it appears the American’s want to make sure the Russians don’t get anywhere near it.
While I have been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time now, it was also a very difficult build up as well with the awards buzz and being the film with the most Oscar nominations this year. That gives it a very huge task of being impressive in many different ways. I am therefore very happy to be able to say that this is a truly impressive and unique film.
Elisa is our main character who cannot speak, which I will admit that to begin with I thought she was deaf. That was not to be the case she was mute, and had scars on her throat from when she was a baby. She could understand everything people were saying and responded in sign language. I thought that was a very powerful way to have the character and really helped to show how alone she felt in the world. This loneliness is what drew her to the creature. When you first get to see the creature fully, my thoughts were that it was rather beautiful rather than scary. Which I hope was the whole point of it all really, especially with how he bonded with Elisa very quickly. It’s an incredible relationship that you do not have to fully understand to appreciate.
Giles was a very complex and interesting character that we don’t get a huge background on but it is shown that he has had a difficult life as well. Throw in Zelda who always complains about her husband not paying any attention to her and it therefore seems that all of the characters are drawn together so they have someone. I certainly did not see the film going in that very deep direction, parts of it felt very cutting and real feelings.
The performances are outstanding from all of the cast and I can truly understand the Oscar nominations they have received. Sally Hawkins is very engaging and innocent in the leading role. Richard Jenkins doing what he does best as a supporting actor, alone with Michael Shannon adding the creepy factor as he usually does. Then the trademark support from Octavia Spencer.
I think it is therefore safe to say that I totally loved everything about this film, I was drawn well and truly into the world and felt like parts of it I could have put together. Everyone feels lonely at some point in life and I think this film helps to show that you will always find someone to help you out even if it is for a short amount of time. I did have an awful moment when watching the film that the ending was going to be truly depressing and it made me feel very sad in all honesty. They do mix some amusing moments and lines to lighten the mood. I guess there’s only one thing left to say and that is a thank you to Guillermo del Toro for creating this truly incredible film.