Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, a cleaner at some sort of research facility in 1960s America who doesn't appear to be able to speak. The facility acquires some sort of amphibious being, shaped very much like a human, and are trying to use it for the benefit of the USA over Russia in the space-race.
There's double-agents and nasty people left, right and centre, including the really nasty-looking head of security played by Michael Shannon who seems to be hell-bent on abusing the creature with a cattle-prod, especially after it injures him. He plays Mr Nasty excellently and you really want him to get his comeuppance!
Elisa's cleaning buddy Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer, is delightful in her role too adding some comic turns as the only person at work who seems to be able to 'sign' with Elisa. The pair are very funny together.
Anyway, in a most unlikely sympathetic chain of events Elisa forms a bond with the creature and ends up trying to help him to escape his likely path if he remains where he is. The film then turns into a rescue attempt whilst most of the other players try to stop it.
All of the players do great jobs and yes, it's a bit daft and silly, but in an almost 'Amelie' type way, mixed with delicious works of Tim Burton! Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg make up the main parts from there and do so very well.
It's a dark but comic outing with del Toro pulling no punches with a bit of sex and violence here and there. I have read a good number of negative reviews about this but I really enjoyed it. Sally Hawkins carries it off in the lead role with great command and it's well worth a watch if you haven't been late to the party like me!