The Shape of Water (2017)
Director Guillermo del Toro's cinematic risk-taking (cf. Pan's Labryinth) continues to pay huge dividends. His newest effort won the Golden Lion award for best picture at the Venice Film Festival, and seven Golden Globe nominations. This genre blender is many things, but most of all a love story like Beauty and the Beast. The story is set in 1962 Baltimore and the Cold War, at a top secret government lab called the Occam Aerospace Research Center, where the United States has just captured its most important Asset ever from South America — a humanoid-like amphibian with spikes and scales. A sadistic Colonel Richard Strickland tortures it. The Soviets hatch a plan in smokey rooms for "extraction" of the beast. A double agent tries to protect him. And Elisa Esposito, a mute woman who works as a janitor on the night shift, befriends the beast with hard boiled eggs and jazz music: "He accepts me with my limitations," she says, "and he's always happy to see me." Neither creature can speak, but they still fall in love.