The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy film, as fables are wont to, touches on real-life issues; it does so, however, most delicately, almost as if the subtext is an afterthought. The love story is charming, and there are many wonderful small touches; the characters are all engaging, well-defined; still, the oddity of it all causes it to not resonate fully. It’s a fine cast in very good shape: Sally Hawkins’s performance is sweet, disarming, delicate; Michael Shannon, by the other hand, is just the perfect monster; Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg and particularly Richard Jenkins (who gives a very touching performance) are all deserving of accolades as well. The creature is very well-designed and the execution of it is flawless. The film as a whole looks very good: Dan Laustsen’s camerawork is beautifully dynamic (without being distracting); Paul D. Austerberry’s production design (and its justified focus on green-colored sets) is very detailed.