Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore.

Review of The Shape of Water

Welcome back to Flixdown. Today I will show you an adventure, drama, fantasy film from 2017, titled The Shape of Water. Spoilers ahead! Watch out and take care. The film begins with the dream of the main character, where her reality is submerged in water, reflecting her dual nature which will be revealed fully throughout the story.

Story of Elisa Esposito

Her alarm goes off and everything returns to normal as she wakes. Elisa Esposito, a mute woman that lives an uneventful life, starts her wake-up routine before work by running the bath and putting some eggs in boiling water. As the timer for the eggs ticks, she takes a refreshing bath. Later, she packs her dinner and makes an extra plate for her next-door neighbor and close friend. Elisa gives Giles the food and sits with him for a moment, watching an old musical on TV. They both enjoy the dancing, and when she leaves Elisa dances in the hallway on her way out. Leaving the building, she runs into her landlord, who also runs a cinema theater in the building, then proceeds to the bus station to catch her ride to work.

Elisa arrives at the super-secret government research facility for the night shift, where her co worker and best friend, Zelda keeps a spot for her in the line to punch her time card. The two women proceed to do their job as part of the cleaning staff until they reach a special secret lab housing a pool. Fleming, the chief of security, introduces Dr. Hoffstetler as the main scientist responsible for overseeing the new asset that is to arrive in that lab. As Fleming sets up the importance of the asset, it arrives in a pressure tank accompanied by a government agent, Strickland. While the men from the facility coordinate with him, Elisa has a little look-see in the tank after she hears the creature howling from inside. It reacts to her touch on the tank, alarming Hoffstetler of their presence and prompting him to get them out of the lab because the creature had become agitated.

The next day, Elisa and Giles go to his favorite restaurant to get key lime pie. Giles has a little chat with the bartender, thinking that he might have a chance with him in the future. In the next shot, he and Elisa are eating the pie at his place, making it apparent that the desert is awful and that he only goes to that shop for the guy. The following night, Elisa and Zelda are cleaning the washroom when Strickland comes in. He washes his hands before he pees, then does his business while the women are still there. Elisa wants to move the cattle prod he has left on the washroom counter, but he tells her not to touch it, explaining how powerful and dangerous it is. Then he introduces himself and explains why he doesn't wash his hands after going, something that should tell them a lot about his character. Before he leaves, Strickland kindly greets the women, making it seem like he's taken a little bit of a liking to Elisa.

Zelda hates him already. Later, the two are taking out the garbage from the hallways, when they hear the door from the lab where the asset was taken open, then see Strickland come out of there bleeding. The other scientists and a few MP's run over to help him and contain the asset while Zelda pulls Elisa away from the scene. Moments later, as they're eating dinner and talking about what they just witnessed, Fleming comes over to get them so they can clean the lab. When they get there they find the lab in an awful, bloody state, but they still continue to mop it up. Suddenly, Elisa finds Strickland's bit-off fingers and sticks them in a paper bag while Zelda goes to get Fleming. Elisa finally gets a chance to see and meet the amphibian man they're keeping in there. Zelda comes back with Fleming and Elisa gives him the paper bag with the body parts. The following morning, Elisa tells Giles everything about what happened, but he doesn't believe her about the creature. He shows her the latest ad he had painted which he needs to take into his former boss and hopefully get paid or his old job back. When Giles meets with the boss, he tells him that he needs to repaint some of the details per the client's instructions. He also tells Giles that he'll see what he can do about his job.


That night, Elisa goes to work and heads immediately to the lab to see the creature again. She hears him in the pool and figures out a way to get him to come out. Elisa cracks an egg and it shows up above the water, then she lures him over and he slowly comes out of the water to take the egg. When she tries handing it over, the amphibian man freaks out so she puts it down, gesturing the word in sign language. He calms and takes the egg, abruptly jumping back into the water. Zelda catches Elisa coming out of the lab and tells her that Strickland wants to see them both in his office. In the next shot, the women are already there for a long and awkward conversation with Strickland, who wants to know even more about them and especially Elisa. He reads in her file that she was left orphaned as a baby and Zelda tells him that Elisa was found by the river, in the water. Strickland wants to thank her for finding his fingers, prompting her to return his wedding band back to him as he explains the surgery in which the doctors stitched his fingers back.

He realizes that she's mute, but not deaf, so he asks if the scars on her neck are the reason she can't talk. Elisa doesn't think so because she wasn't able to speak since she was a child. Before they leave, Strickland tells them to keep away from the creature in the lab which he took from South America and dragged back to the US. He cautions them that while the creature may look similar to a human, that it's still a monster. The women leave when Strickland gets a phone call from a general, informing him that he will be visiting the facility soon. Meanwhile, the creature reminisces over Elisa, repeating the sign for an egg.

The following night, Elisa waits for the scientists to leave the lab, then takes out a record player from her cart and places it next to the pool. She plays music for the amphibian man and serves him a single egg while she also takes a bite from her sandwich. He takes the egg without surfacing so she pauses the music to make him come out and join her. Surely enough, the amphibian man pokes his head out, grunting, and Elisa un-pauses the record. She teaches him the sign for music and he learns it fast, enjoying the music and their time together. Their dates continue in the following nights, coupled with boiling eggs and music, then eventually graduating to dancing.

Hoffstetler walks in on them one night when he goes to bring the creature its dinner, but he doesn't interrupt them. He realizes that he has come upon something significant about the asset so he contacts his real bosses and meets with them at a separate location. After sharing the password with the security, he's taken to another location to meet with the main Soviet agent. Hoffstetler gives him all his notes on the creature and a blueprint of the lab so they can plan its extraction. He's adamant about going forward with the extraction sooner because he thinks that the creature is an intelligent being, able to communicate. The agent promises to pass that along to their superiors. Elisa goes back to work, taking care of the laundry for the facility, where she learns how she can disable the security camera if she needed to.

Who Wounded the 'MONSTER'?

Later, she covertly enters the lab and finds the creature chained up and badly wounded. Elisa wants to help him but hears Strickland coming back and promptly hides in the lab. The amphibian man screeches as Strickland comes back inside. Strickland taunts him and tortures him with the cattle prod remorselessly, disturbing Elisa as well. The general arrives at the lab and is immediately stunned by the size and look of the creature. Strickland tells him that the native tribes in the Amazon where he found it, worshiped the amphibian man like a god. Both Strickland and the general think that he doesn't look like much of a god when Hoffstetler checks him and asks why he's bleeding. The scientist tells the general that the creature can alternate between two entirely separate breathing mechanisms, making him a very special and unique living organism that can help future scientific progress.

The general and Strickland make fun of both him and the creature when Hoffstetler notices Elisa in the lab. He also realizes that the amphibian man is having difficulty breathing since he's been out of the water for too long and pleads with Strickland to get him back in. Strickland however, continues with his presentation, telling the general that they need to vivisect the creature if they really want to know more about it. Hoffstetler disagrees and when the creature passes out, he orders the men to take him to the pressure tank, then leaves with Strickland and the general to discuss the next steps concerning the asset. Elisa hears it all and frantically follows them back to Strickland's office, where she learns that the creature will be killed and dissected. Later, Elisa tries to acquire Giles's help to get the creature out of the facility.

Elisa & The 'MONSTER'

However, he doesn't want to have anything to do with it, fearing that they'll be breaking the law. Elisa finally admits to her love for the amphibian man who she thinks sees her the way no one has seen her before, as a person with no deficiencies. Even after her speech, Giles isn't convinced, saying that the creature isn't even human so he leaves the apartment in a hurry. Elisa storms after him signing that if they don't help him, they don't won't be human anymore. Giles ignores her plea again. In the next shot, he meets with his boss who tells him that the corrections aren't even necessary because the client went in another direction and says that he will never be hired back. Later, Giles goes back to the restaurant to see his bae, but unfortunately, the moment he makes a move on him he learns that not only is the man not gay, but also a massive homophobe. Even worse, as an African-American couple walks into the restaurant, the man is revealed to be a massive racist too, completely disappointing Giles on all possible levels. Feeling what it looks like to be treated like an animal on his own skin, Giles finally grows a conscience and goes to Elisa to tell her that he will help her after all. Meanwhile, Hoffstetler meets his Soviet contacts again to inform them that the creature will be vivisected.

His boss tells him that he has two options: either to delay the procedure, which is impossible, or use a tool to cut the power in the facility, giving him enough time to kill the creature himself. Scientists hate the alternatives because his primary obligation is to science and not any country's political motives. However, his boss tells him he has no other choice. Simultaneously, Strickland buys an expensive car in a color he hates, just because the man at the shop tells him it's the cool new thing. That night, while Hoffstetler takes care of the amphibian man, Elisa stakes out the lab and its exits to figure out a way to get the creature out of there and Zelda catches a glimpse of her planning something. Giles prepares his van to make it look like one of the laundry vans that do the pick-ups from the facility. Later, he and Elisa go over the plan, which is to use fake documents to get to the lab by 5 a.m. while she takes care of the cameras and gets the creature out in a laundry cart.

Meanwhile, Hoffstetler prepares the poison to kill the creature, clearly unhappy about it. Elisa goes back to the staff locker room just as everybody gets ready to leave, but she stays behind and gets back to the loading dock to move the camera. As she's doing that, Hoffstetler makes his final plea to Strickland not to kill the amphibian man. While they argue, he sees that Elisa's moving the cameras on the monitor and when he realizes that Strickland won't budge, he decides to help her instead. Elisa is already preparing the laundry cart for the creature as Zelda waits for her to come by the elevators, then stays back and goes searching for her when she doesn't show. Elisa goes to the lab, with Hoffstetler already waiting for her there. She takes the amphibian man out of the water and Hoffstetler approaches, giving her the keys to the chains. He tells Elisa what she needs to do to keep the creature comfortable and gives her a special mixture to put in his water to keep him alive. He also tells her that he'll disable the power which will give her five minutes, then he'll meet her at the loading dock. While Elisa is rolling the creature out of the lab, Giles drives over there and Hoffstetler goes to find the main power fuse. Giles arrives at the loading dock but is stopped by the MP at the gate while Hoffstetler sets the timer on the gadget to cut the power.

In a fast sequence of events, Elisa brings the creature out and Zelda stops her, while Strickland sees the van on the security camera from the gate, suspecting that something is wrong and calling the MP. He runs over there as the MP points a gun at Giles to step out of the vehicle when suddenly the power goes out. Hoffstetler hurries Elisa to get the creature to the loading dock and Zelda finally decides to help. Then, he kills the MP so Giles can have a clear path to get to Elisa. The four of them get the amphibian man into the van and Giles drives off, leaving Zelda and Hoffstetler behind. Giles crashes into Strickland's car because he's mesmerized by the creature's beauty, giving the security enough time to catch up to them and to start shooting.

Fortunately, the escape van makes it out of the facility, and Strickland is pissed. Later, Elisa and Giles get the creature comfortably into her bathtub so he can start breathing. They both rejoice because their plan worked as Strickland investigates the chain of events that allowed the creature to escape. The following morning, Elisa forges a new plan on how to set the amphibian man back into the ocean. She'll have to wait for the October rains to come and release him in the canals so she writes it down in her calendar.

Later, Elisa has a nice moment with the creature, showing their growing bond. That night, they all go back to work, pretending it's business as usual. Strickland questions Elisa and Zelda, then realizes that whoever planned the escape could not have been a simple member of the cleaning staff and dismisses them, convinced that the creature was grabbed by highly trained agents.

Meanwhile, Giles takes care of the amphibian man in his apartment, but when he falls asleep, the creature hears the TV and leaves the bathroom. The amphibian man sees one of Giles's cats, then hunts and eats her, getting caught by Giles in the act. Giles yells at him to stop, scaring the creature terribly. He reacts by attacking Giles as well and running out of the building. Before Elisa and Zelda leave work, Hoffstetler gives them another care package for the creature.

Elisa tells him about her plan to release him and calls him a good man. Suddenly, she gets a phone call from Giles that the creature ran away so she goes back to the apartments as fast as she can. Elisa finds the amphibian man downstairs cinema, drawn there by the sounds of the films, puzzled by what he's seeing. They have a touching moment together and then come back to tend to Giles. The creature has already learned that the cats are off the menu and he tries to make it right with Giles for eating one of them. He places his hand on Giles's head and his wound, glowing magnificently, signifying that something magical is happening. Meanwhile, Strickland calls Hoffstetler to his office, questioning him because he suspects his involvement.

Elisa and the creature continue to bond and fall in love. One morning, Elisa accepts his advances and walks into the bathroom stripping her clothes, suggesting they will get intimate together. The next night at work, Zelda catches her smiling and figures out she had slept with the amphibian man, so Elisa explains how it all worked. Zelda is shocked and says never trust a man, even when he looks flat down there. Hoffstetler gets a visit from his Soviet comrades, who question him about the amphibian man as well, falsely thinking that he went ahead and killed it. He can tell that they're a little suspicious as well and gets ready to defend himself, but they leave telling him that they'll contact him when they have his extraction plan. As time goes on, Elisa and the amphibian man continue their loving affair and she almost floods the entire building creating their own little aquarium in her bathroom. Giles catches them in the act, stopping the flood from getting worse, but he relays no judgment.

Moreover, he might be starting to believe the creature is really a god, considering it healed both his wound and made his hair grow back with a simple touch. Hoffstetler finally gets the call from his comrades to meet them for his extraction and Elisa checks the docks because the rains had started. When she comes back home she realizes that the creature is getting sick being out of the water for so long. Meanwhile, Strickland gets a visit from the general who pushes him, even more, to find the creature faster, informing him that if he doesn't find it, he will lose his job with the government. Elisa realizes that the date has come to release the creature back in the ocean and during their meal together, she finds a way to express her love for him.

Later, she tells Zelda what's happening and when she checks on the creature, Zelda says that she must release him that night. Before Zelda leaves, she calls Hoffstetler to ask him what to do but unfortunately, he's already at the door and misses the call. Since Strickland is onto Hoffstetler, he follows him when he leaves his apartment to go to the secret meeting place. Hoffstetler isn't getting extracted though. When his compatriots arrive at the meeting place, they shoot him down but are killed by Strickland before they can finish him. Strickland tortures the barely living scientist for information about the creature and learns that it was the cleaning staff who managed to fool him and release the creature. Upon learning that, Strickland goes to Zelda's house to question her about it, but finds out the truth from her husband since she wasn't willing to give up her friend. As soon as he leaves, Zelda calls Elisa to tell her that he's on his way. Elisa and Giles make it to the canals before Strickland gets to her apartment and are ready to say goodbye to the creature forever.

In the END

Unfortunately, Strickland sees the date that Elisa has written in her calendar and follows them there, so before the amphibian man can jump in the water he shoots both him and Elisa. Giles knocks him over, stopping him from shooting further and giving the creature enough time to heal his own wounds. The amphibian man gets up and promptly confronts Strickland, who shockingly says that the creature is a god before the amphibian man slashes Strickland's neck open. As Strickland is dying and Zelda arrives at the dock with the police, the creature takes Elisa in his hands and jumps in the water. Zelda and Giles watch them go, silently saying their farewells. The creature heals Elisa in the water and helps her start breathing through the gills on her neck, which were never scars. They live happily ever after.

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