Guillermo del Toro’s Best Film Is Now Available To Watch For Free

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is available to stream for free with ads on Freevee.

By Matthew Creith | Updated

Director Guillermo del Toro is gearing up to introduce the world to his newest animated feature, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which is set to be released on Netflix on December 9. A fan-favorite during awards season, the Mexican filmmaker wowed critics and audiences back in 2017 with The Shape of Water, taking home top prizes at major award shows and strengthening his career as a prolific storyteller. The Shape of Water is available to stream for free on Amazon Freevee, so now is the perfect time to revisit a modern classic before del Toro’s newest movie comes to your television.

shape of water

The Shape of Water debuted in theaters on December 1, 2017, after a successful reception at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where it was awarded the highest prize at the festival, The Golden Lion. The romantic fantasy movie showcased the story of 1960s-era janitor Elisa Esposito, played by Sally Hawkins, who works at a top-secret research facility and forms a special relationship with an amphibious being imprisoned at the facility. The movie co-starred Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, and frequent del Toro collaborator Doug Jones who embodied the creature.

Cowritten by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water was a financial success for Fox Searchlight Pictures upon its release, primarily due to del Toro’s direction and the callback themes to old Hollywood movies within the fantasy world that Hawkins’ character found herself embracing. 

The Shape of Water went on to gross over $195 million at the box office against a budget of around $20 million and was a leading contender during awards season. The movie ended up with 13 nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, del Toro took home the Academy Award for Best Director while the film won Best Picture, only the second fantasy epic to win the top prize after 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Critics and audiences took to The Shape of Water at the time, while some viewers have soured on its place in movie history in the five years since it debuted in theaters. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks the movie as Certified Fresh with a 92% on its Tomatometer based on 462 critics’ reviews, while The Shape of Water holds an Audience Score of 72% among more than 25,000 ratings from verified users to the site.

Similarly, Metacritic reflects a Must-See Metascore of 87 based on 53 critics’ reviews and a User Score of 7.0 based on 1,057 audience reviews, which typically denotes universal acclaim from critics and generally favorable reviews from users of the site.

When casting for The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro thought of Sally Hawkins immediately due to her triumphant performance in 2008’s Happy-Go-Lucky, and he wrote the character of Elisa with her in mind. Doug Jones was chosen to play the humanoid amphibious creature in the movie because of his long track record working with del Toro, which dates back to previous collaborations on 1997’s Mimic, 2004’s Hellboy with Ron Perlman, the 2006 dark fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth, and 2015’s Crimson Peak alongside Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.

The character of Giles was written initially for X-Men star Ian McKellen, but when he was unavailable to shoot The Shape of Water, del Toro thought of actor Richard Jenkins instead, and he eventually accepted the part.

Some of the cast members of The Shape of Water proved to be standout performers in a movie based primarily on old Hollywood tropes and bizarre relationships. Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Richard Jenkins received acting nominations at the Academy Awards, although none of them won their respective awards.

The film was mostly regarded for Guillermo del Toro’s work as a director as well as Alexandre Desplat’s original score, with Desplat winning the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures for the movie, a feat he previously accomplished with his work on Wes Anderson’s 2014 film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

With The Shape of Water currently available to stream on Amazon Freevee, audiences can rewatch a movie dedicated to monster movies and 1950s glamor. Guillermo del Toro put his fantasy spin on a film that welcomes diversity and highlights some challenges imposed on disenfranchised groups. Before audiences stream Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio soon, they should watch one of his masterpieces, The Shape of Water.