‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is a beautiful tale, depicting one courageous six year old girl, Hushpuppy (portrayed by Quvenzhané Wallis) struggling to survive in her flooded bayou community. Hushpuppy lives alone with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry) in a decrepit, falling apart shack. Wink’s health is deteriorating from a mysterious illness, and a storm is expected to hit their small shabby neighborhood. Can Hushpuppy survive on her own and care for her ill-fading father? Or will the waters rise and wash away all that is left?
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ was beautifully filmed, with metaphors of ice caps melting and ancient aurochs roaming through the earth to describe the beasts that Hushpuppy has to overcome in order to survive this treacherous nightmare. Hushpuppy and Wink are dirt poor, and most of the film is interesting to watch as they survive on actually hunting for food, eating their own animals, and when the government steps in to help them, instead of willingly accepting that they need food, water and medical attention they rather live how they’ve been living and escape their shelter. Through the torment that their community has been through, Hushpuppy seems completely okay and her father instills in her that she needs to be strong, not shed a tear and always pay attention so she can survive on her own if need be.
The relationship between Hushpuppy and Wink is interesting. Wink is an alcoholic, and at times extremely angry, the audience can find him quite intimidating especially when paired up with a small little girl. But, Hushpuppy holds her own. At times the audience is left wondering if they even like each other and if they even want to be near one another. But, through tragedy it’s clear how much Wink loves Hushpuppy and yearns for her to be okay, while Hushpuppy truly needs her father and someone to take of her.
The acting in the film is great, although she barely has much of a dialogue, which is actually even more impressive on Wallis’s recent Academy Award nomination, she says enough through her eyes and her emotions. She delivers an extraordinary performance and sets the bar high for other child actors. Henry does a magnificent job hitting each level of his character, when he’s angry the audience is scared of what he may do, when he’s nice people want to like his character, and when he’s vulnerable, people’s hearts are touched.
The film, although beautiful to watch is a bit long and somewhat confusing. Towards the end of the film, Hushpuppy decides to travel on a quest to find her mother. There is no mention as to what exactly happened to her mother, did she die, or did she leave them? That part was a bit confusing, and felt a little too much in the drama department. But, towards the end it’s wonderful to witness Hushpuppy defying herself and staying strong through tough times, which is truly inspirational to witness.
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys dramatic films, set in underprivileged atmospheres, with beautiful cinematography. Also to anyone who loves films packed with robust courageous characters especially that of a small beautiful girl filled with determination to remain strong, resilient and fight for her father and community during an unspeakable tragedy.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow night 7:00et/4:00pt on ABC for the 85th Annual Academy Awards and root for your favorite nominees to win!