Starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg
and Octavia Spencer
Story by Guillermo De Toro
Screenplay by Guillermo De Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Guillermo De Toro
Out of Four
Reviewed by Patrick Gibbs & Paul Gibbs
Director Guillermo Del Toro has is one of the most singualr artistic voices in film, with an ability to make art films that can crossover into the mainstream (Pan's Labyrinth) and mainstream popcorn films that have a certain appeal to the art house crowd (Hellboy, Crimson Peak, and even the gloriously silly Pacific Rim.). His approach to filmmaking can be summed up in one word: love. No one approaches their craft with more genuinely, painstaking joy and a more loving hand than this quirky artist, and his latest film is a testimony of the power of love.
|(Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)|
|Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and her new friend have a meal together.|
(Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)
But as great as the cast is, this is a director's film all the way, and Del Toro the artist paints with a steady hand and a palate of colors you didn't even know existed. The word "visionary" is one we don't like to throw around often, as it an awfully strong compliment and has become the all purpose term Hollywood uses to sell any filmmaker who has a fan base but no major awards, but Del Toro is worthy of the designation. He has a way of making all of his films feel so personal that watching one is like taking a glimpse into his heart, mind and soul, which is why his collaboration with composer Alexandre Desplat is a match made in heaven.
The film does feature some disturbing images and gore, as well as some sexuality and quite a bit more female nudity than you might expect, so despite the Edward Scissorhands vibe, it's advisable to leave at least the younger kids at home. But it's a moving tale that is wholly deserving of all of the awards momentum it has been getting, and easily one of the year's best.
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