The perfect film

My recipe for the perfect film:

  • Set in a place I’ll likely never visit,
  • With music that concurrently conducts my heartbeat and emotions throughout the film, triggering laughter and tears,
  • A hero/ heroine who is admirable and inspiring,
  • A villain who so despicable you want him or her to die,
  • A story that is equally relatable and unimaginable,
  • With cinematography that honors the art of film,
  • And in its totality makes me value the purchase and choice to see it in a theater.

I saw The Shape of Water New Year’s Eve. I wanted to see it because really like the lead actress Sally Hawkins. I saw it with three of my friends, and our reviews were mixed, but we did agree that it had all the elements of the perfect film.

Here’s the film’s description that accompanies the trailer:

Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.

I don’t want to spoil the film, therefore I won’t go into much detail. I do, however, want to share two lines that I will always remember.

“When he looks at me, he doesn’t know I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.”

Those two lines are delivered by two characters. The sincerity and vulnerability of the lines, though originating from one, is shared by the two, both of their desire to be seen, to be understood, to be appreciated, and to be loved is so fervent that it is palpable.

Watching this scene play out on a large screen and feeling my own heart tugged and pulled and saying yes, yes, I want that, too. And, later reflecting that yes, I have had that. And still later, appreciating that we all want that. And, now this morning, yearning to have that again, and believing that I can and will.  Yes, that is powerful and why The Shape of Water is the perfect film. For all of the stretches that it takes with our imagination, it leads our heart and mind to the one steadfast belief that I believe we all share and that is that love does conquer all.

Dusk, by Karen Craven, Little Lost Lake, Michigan
Dusk, by Karen Craven, Little Lost Lake, Michigan


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