The Shape of Water

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Politics and movies are nearly always a toxic mix, and I was prepared to find this movie pretty tedious, based on comments referring to it as "SJW Splash". But, guess what, if you go into a movie expecting it to be ludicrously cartoonish in its good guy/bad guy setups, you can actually have a good time.

It had 13 Oscar nominations and won 4, including Best Picture, so it really does have more stuff going for it than its political correctness.

It is set in 1962 Baltimore. The heroine, Elisa (Sally Jenkins), is a lonely mute living above a dying movie theatre. She's friends with Giles (Richard Jenkins), an equally lonely closeted gay artist. She's fond of self-gratification in her bathtub. And she works at a super-secret underground government complex (with colleague Zelda, Olivia Spencer).

Which is fine, until the villainous feds bring in a creature discovered in Brazil, for no apparent purpose other than torture and eventual vivisection. The villains behind this are Michael Shannon, and also Nick Searcy as his cold-blooded military superior.

The creature, of course, is intelligent, which Elisa discovers. She also finds him sexy. So (eventually) she hatches a scheme to rescue him and return him to a safe watery abode.

IMDB genricizes this as "Adventure/Drama/Fantasy", but I'd add "Comedy". If you're in the right frame of mind, it's frickin' hilarious.