Over the winter, in December I guess, I listened to an interview on Fresh Air on NPR as I so often do on my way home from work. Terry Gross was interviewing the director Guillermo Del Toro and he was speaking about his new movie called The Shape of Water. The story he was describing intrigued me so much that as soon as I got home I added the name of the film to my library list; a list I keep by my office computer that has titles to books or movies or records that I have heard of and want to borrow when they are available from my local library. Truth be told almost all of the titles are from NPR interviews. The story sounded like a mix between something I would find late at night on the Sci Fi channel and The Princess Bride, meaning it sounded like something of a quirky fairy tale which is anything I would love to watch or to read. I did not watch The Academy Awards in March but did see on the news the next morning that he won for best director, and became even more excited for my library request to finally arrive.
A month later it did, when I was away in Florida for a few days with my daughter and granddaughters, so my dvd request was cancelled when I did not retrieve my order in time…SO when I arrived home from my mini-vacation and went through my email I immediately reordered the dvd which arrived, sadly for me, right before Memorial Day, which, as I have a small seasonal business, is literally my busiest time of the entire year, so much so that I often don’t get home until dark and I fall asleep in utter exhaustion within seconds of my head hitting my pillow, and don’t read or watch much during those last two weeks of May! Fortunately I arrived at the library after the holiday weekend to retrieve the dvd the day the hold was to be cancelled and I planned to watch it that night, Thursday May 31st. And then I didn’t. And then I didn’t watch it on Friday night, or Saturday night. I did not work on Sunday, and it was a rainy crap day so I thought I would watch it Sunday afternoon after yoga or Sunday night after dinner.
Sunday evening as my tired eyes grew more heavy I realized that I likely had only a couple of hours of alertness left in me and was deciding whether or not I would read at bedtime or watch this movie. I made, what turned out to be a terrible choice, to go on the IMBD web site and read the reviews of the movie. The reviews were terrible. Really bad. Two Thumbs Down was pretty much the consensus! I read a few, and then a few more, and they were so dreadful that I just jumped ahead to the synopsis and decided to save myself two hours of a bad movie and read in bed instead. I felt disappointed. Disappointed that this movie seemed so awful to so many even though I had been so excited to see it for many months. I “said” as much in a social media post that night and discovered in the morning MANY of my cyber friends thoroughly disagreed with both the bad reviews, and my post stating that reading would be a better choice and to return the movie unwatched. Monday morning I thought to myself, how could I have wanted so badly to see this film and then been so easily swayed by online reviews when for most of my life things that are odd, strange, or unpopular are, more often than not, very appealing to me??!! I realized that my cyber friends are so like-minded, and all of them suggested I watch this movie and form my own opinion rather than giving up on it before I even pressed >Play.
I am very glad that I both took their advice and rethought my thoughts. I found the film quirky, magical, fantastical, and charming. I loved the soundtrack, I loved the colors, the way the color green was a significant piece of every scene, the narration, the dialog, the character development, the whole thing was a joy for me! I am so glad that the interview with the director started me on the path to seeing the movie and my friends encouragement to do so made it happen. This morning I was reminded that what is popular; for example shows involving bachelors, dancing stars, rich housewives, pawn shop owners, or unknown singers are seldom, IF EVER, at all interesting to me…I was reminded last night while watching The Shape of Water that I must always let my own experience shape my opinion.