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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Writers: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly
Genre: Drama, Fantasy

Beast of the Southern Wilds is one of the most interesting films I've seen in a long time. I would give a large portion of the film a 5/5 rating! The qualms I have with the film comes out of my awe for the film and my desire to have it be the film I would have wanted to see. The more I'm amazed by a film, the more critical I tend to be of it.

I was blown away by the voice over narrative by the little girl. IMO this is the best part of the film. The things she said and the way she perceived her fractured world, was a thing of sheer beauty. Whoever wrote those lines is a genius and an artist.

One special moment is when her daddy Wink, passes out in the woods. Latter when Hushpuppy returns with medicine he's gone and she thinks out loud.

HUSHPUPPY (V.O.) 'Daddy could have turned into a tree, or a bug. There wasn't any way to know.'

After the big flood she's traveling down the river in a boat made out of a truck bed and she thinks out loud.

HUSHPUPPY (V.O.) ' For every animal that didn't have a Dad to put it in a boat, the end of the world already happened. They're all down below, trying to breathe through water.'

The other element I loved, was the sights of the bayou. Even the poverty in it's own way, was beautiful, and fascinating to look at. I can't explain it but the film had a realistic quality that seemed like I was actually there. The trailer on huge piles of blocks was very cool, and the inside was so unique. I wish we would have had more time there. I love universe building and this film does it well! And all I needed in this film was to see the sights of the Bathtub area, through the eyes of Hushpuppy. That's my 5/5!

But the film made what I think is a mistake when it introduced the fantasy element of the large ice age beast. I disliked those parts.

I also didn't care about the adventure when they left the bayou to blow up the levy. That felt tacked on, like some story element troupe. Same with the rescue center scenes, tacked on and unnecessary. And I could have cared less about the touchy feely ending with the dying dad. Hadn't the film shown him as some mental case that makes his daughter live in her trailer by herself. The film didn't need to redeem him and go for a Hollywood ending.

In a way Beast of the Southern Wild reminded me of Life of Pi as both protagonist faced a tragedy so devastating that they invited an alternative fantasy to deal with the emotional impact of it.