On a small southern Louisiana island exists a forgotten ramshackle town known as The Bathtub, the proud home of six-year-old Hushpuppy and her father Wink. When her defiant father becomes ill and an environmental disaster causes ferocious floods to engulf the area, Hushpuppy is forced to survive on her own. Now she must face the elements, her destiny and prehistoric beasts that have awoken from their frozen graves.
A long wet wallow in Deep South sentimentality
- Beasts of the Southern Wild review by PV
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You rated this film: 2
There are two great things about this movie: 1) the title; 2) the poster promoting it (a classic).
As for the film itself. Well, it's based on a stage play - and an American one. That means it's overly sentimental, and well as engaging in flights of fancy and fantasy, and also marinated in the sort of racial politics that seemingly hems in all US drama.
I found the story too plotless for my liking, and the characters way too rooted in pity party sentimentality.
No doubt this was made specifically to appeal to the Africa-American demographic too. But I kept asking myself: if the film were like this but about Norwegians or Finns, then would I like the film more? And the answer is: NO - it would be just as dull. Being set in the Deep South with black children does not make it better...
I was actually really disappointed in this, though I wouldn't say it's a bad film, per se. I would say it's a watchable, average, unreamarkable film - with a great title and film poster.
Young Hushpuppy, a six year old girl living in the Louisiana lowlands in the wake of hurricane Katrina insists her homeland, known as The Bathtub, is the most beautiful place on Earth. When however the icecaps begin to melt and the water levels rise, monstrous prehistoric boars begin to make their way toward Hushpuppy and the rest of those living in their makeshifts homes in the little shantytown. Imagined or not, the monsters act as an eloquent and evocative allegory for the impending terror that awaits Hushpuppy as her physical world and the health of her only family, a tough but loving drunk of a father, all begin to falter.
An often strange and unfathomable movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild is told through the eyes of the beautiful and innocent Hushpuppy, whose interpretations of events are coloured by the sweet beliefs of children coupled with the wise insightfulness of one who has seen too much grief. Painful but beautiful moments can be missed like passing comments as Hushpuppy attempts to come to terms with her lot in life. Look out for small mentions of a mother who “swam away” or the sight of sick people on life support as being “plugged into the wall”. Such iterations make this unusual and often intense film all the more heart breaking, particularly when see through the eyes of a cynical adult audience.
Much like the icecaps my heart was quickly melted by the gorgeous and expressive face of Quvenzhané Wallis whose portrayal of Hushpuppy steals every scene, whilst the complexity of her relationship with her father, who despite his drinking is well intentioned and over flowing with love. His insistence that his daughter never cry is, quite simply, one that can not be carried out by any warm blooded audience upon watching the final moments of this brilliant but painful piece.