Gather ‘round, allegory fans, and behold this fish-out-of-water tale of man’s inhumanity to what he deems inhuman from director and co-writer Guillermo del Toro. The action is recalled as a sort of adult fairy tale, and concerns a woman (Sally Hawkins, mesmerizing) without a voice and the mysterious creature who captures her heart (among other things). On the one side, you have love, sexual indulgence, science, art, magic, racial harmony, fidelity, kindness, great movies, and lonely but decent gays (Richard Jenkins, transporting). On the other, you have hatred, repressed sexuality (corn flakes!), politics, commerce, religion, racism, betrayal, cruelty, crap television, and married but wretched straights (Michael Shannon, terrifying). It’s a testament to the storyteller’s skill that he manages to cram all that into his narrative with nary a lump and still keep his characters dancing with only one or two minor missteps. What’s it all about? Well, our heroine lives above a movie theater that happens to be showing The Story of Ruth — you know, the Biblical woman who famously declared, “Whither thou goest, there goest I.” And Del Toro’s religious rascality doesn’t stop there: Samson and Delilah help to drive the drama, as does a certain someone drawn from amid the bulrushes. (2017) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.