Sally Hawkins shines in "The Shape of Water"  

Sally Hawkins shines in "The Shape of Water"  

/Twentieth Century Fox

VENICE - My first film of the Venice Film Festival showed at 8:30 a.m. Thursday (that would be 1:30 a.m. back home). Thankfully it was a keeper. Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is a monster movie/love story that ranks with the director's best. It has that combination of the macabre and the innocent that zooms right into del Toro's wheelhouse. It's got a great bad guy (Michael Shannon as a vainglorious Cold Warrior), a great heroine (Sally Hawkins as a mute romantic who cleans a lab enshrouded with secrets), and a great creature, which kind of goes without saying on GDT territory. It's a generous-hearted fable with a tinge of grownup nastiness, rendered with the fluid visual style that makes del Toro a magician.

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