Movie Review: Beasts of a Southern Wild


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I fell in love with Beasts of a Southern Wild after I heard an NPR interview with Director Benh Zeitlin.  It is an inspirational movie with a lot of truth, a little magic infused with loads of hope.  Six-year-old Hushpuppy (played by Quvenzhane Wallis) narrates the film from her imaginative perspective, allowing viewers to be swept away by her love for Bathtub, where she calls home, and her bigger love for the Bayou lifestyle.

Cinematically, it is beautiful in its raw form with low shots of the swampy land sucking at people’s feet and thunderous melody of storm clouds rolling in.  While main actors/actresses are typically always in focused in their scenes, the director chose to have many scenes with Hushpuppy where the background is sharper or everything was blurry.  It’s a little odd at first when I started noticing it, but it made me examine her surroundings more.  It is no town like anywhere else in civilization.  Only places on the fringe of society or the edge of the world could relate to Bathtub.  Its people are bred with natural survival instincts at a young age, and each neighbor helps one another to overcome Mother Nature’s cruel anger.  These type of people do not belong anywhere else except where they call home.  They would weather any storm under any condition because of loyalty to their lifestyle and tradition.  All that they know is where they belong.  Can you say the same?

While the semi-documentary moved me to tears, I also left feeling as if I couldn’t describe the movie to anyone else.  There is no defined plot.  I would liken it to a short story or a cinematic parable.  The plot is the moral behind the story – we are all beasts and no matter how small, you have to fix what you can.

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