Full disclosure: this movie did not appeal to me until it started getting Oscar buzz. A mute woman falls in love with a fishman? There's nothing about that that intrigued me. Then I heard Sally Hawkins was the star. Yeah, I like her a lot. Octavia Spenser as her best friend? Richard Jenkins? Michael Stuhlberg. Michael Shannon? Okay, fishman love story, why do you have to pull me in like that?
My friend, Suzanne and I took ourselves to the movies Tuesday to see this because there was no way our husbands would walk into that theater. You either like this kind of story or you don't. And, a few years ago I'd kinda sorta tricked them into seeing a subtitled movie and I'm not sure they trust my judgment 100%. Suz, well, she's game for anything. So, off we went.
The movie was beautiful. The set direction stood out without being distracting. The ongoing motifs (the color green) and callbacks (advertising art) were ridiculously satisfying and fun. It was grounded in our past, but it was also a comical idealized version (Michael Shannon's character at home with his family). The acting, of course, was superb throughout. It was also a little gross and bloody.
And, the love story? The only way that was believable was because of Sally Hawkins. I'm sure Frances McDormand will win the Oscar, but I've seen both performances in the last week and I'm here to tell you that every single A-List actress could sell that female rage since November 8, 2016. But, making you fall in love with a merman? That's all fucking Sally Hawkins.
Give Sally Hawkins All the Oscars. She's brilliant.
Definitely worth your time.