Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

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Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)


Beasts of the Southern Wild is the story of a little girl, Hushpuppy, and her father, Wink who's getting sicker everyday, their life in the Bathtub, a community outside of modern civilization, a natural disaster in the form of floods that hit the Bathtub and the enforced independence of small Hushpuppy. Much of the story is left to free interpretation. What is a six-year girl's imagination and what it represents, and what is the reality is on the viewer to decide.

It's Benham Zeitlin directorial debut, with mostly amateur cast. With that in mind and relatively small budget ($ 1.8 million) performance in this film is surprisingly good, although the big critique goes to the camera. The main objective of low shaky camera was to show visual perspective of small Hushpuppy which is not bad idea, but some scenes are unwatchable due to shaky camera which combined with extreme slow action greatly reduces the interest of viewers.
The main part of cast is totally amateurish with acting debut of main stars, Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry in roles of Hushpuppy and Wink. Without the fact that they have never acted before their performance is amazing, and with knowing that this is their debut performance is almost unbelievable. They were so impressive at the auditions that they got roles despite little Quvenzhané was too young for the role of Hushpuppy with only 5 years while the searching age was 6-9 years, and Dwight Henry has agreed to the role only if the cast will rehearse with him at night while working in his bakery, that condition was fulfilled. Quvenzhané and Wallis will definitely become one of famous movie names. Although Henry argues that he will not start acting seriously, given the newfound fame that's hard to believe.
This year we'll see a new collaboration of Wallis and Henry in new project by Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) Twelve Years a Slave which will put them alongside great movie names like Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender.

Visually movie works perfectly, and in that way it's special experience, especially with an excellent music backgorund. But the plot itself is mostly philosophical and interesting, though not too deep and very slow, and from time to time looks as insufficient for a feature film. It's full of metaphors that every viewer can interpret at his own way and there's no point in writing anything more about the plot.
Definitely worth a look, but with lower expectations and in rested state. Future work of every important member of this films team should be followed, from Zeitlin to Wallis. It seems that this is the beginning of several promising careers.


I enjoyed but didn't love this film. I thought the fantasy aspects were overstated by critics. There were so few scenes involving this that they almost felt out of place in this film. However they were not distracting enough to take me out of the movie either. The relationship between the daughter and her father was very thought provoking and what drives this film. I also thought the scene towards the end of the film on the riverboat was one of the 2 or 3 best scenes in a movie all year.