Once upon a time in an apartment above an old theatre, there lived Eliza (Sally Hawkins), a woman who couldn’t speak. Her days consisted of scrubbing toilets and wiping floors in a secret laboratory with her best friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer). That all changes one day when a mysterious fish/man hybrid (Doug Jones) is brought in by the evil Agent Strickland (Michael Shannon). Eliza comes to form a special bond with this fish-man through hard boiled eggs and Benny Goodman records. With the help of her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), Eliza must rescue the fish-man before he’s killed by the evil Strickland.
The Shape of Water is often labeled as the “fish f—–ng movie”. While Eliza does have sex with the Fish-man (offscreen), the film is much more than that. It’s an oddball romance between a timid woman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s a Cold War espionage thriller starring janitors. It’s an allegory of 1950s bigotry. But at its core, The Shape of Water is a modern fairy tale for adults.