Beasts of the Southern Wild charmingly brilliant
This article has been read 3035 times.
It’ll be no surprise to us if 8-year-old Quevenzhane Wallis is nominated for Best Actress in the Academy Awards
Beasts of the Southern Wild offers summer movie-goers a melodious, mythical journey. The film is narrated by the imaginative young mind of 6-year-old Hushpuppy, who resides on the outskirts of society in Louisiana’s southern delta region.
Hushpuppy lives with her father, Wink, who has a weakening heart that he tries to hide from his daughter while training her to cope with the coming changes.
Preparing for his final days, Wink enforces a strict code of independence and machismo upon Hushpuppy, referring to her as “man” and encouraging rough, rowdy behavior that’s humorously unfitting for a girl her age.
The two dwell in a small delta community known as the Bathtub, which is expected to be swallowed by the oncoming rising waters caused by rapidly melting ice caps. The Bathtub is a forlorn, forgotten community of folk who take pride in their persistence to survive on the swampy swath of land. The swamps serve as the stunning scenery behind a sobering yet heartwarming story that’s reminiscent of southern folklore.
A troubling storm rumored to threaten the community parallels Wink’s failing health, as Hushpuppy is expected to endure the possible loss of her father and the only home she’s ever known.
As the ice caps continue to melt, a number of prehistoric creatures called aurochs begin to thaw, exposing themselves to be huge, hairy, hog-like beasts that are floating towards the Bathtub.
Because of the additional desolation, the tiny town personifies the nearly post-apocalyptic nature of poverty through its makeshift existence along the Southern delta region. It is scenes like these that can be found throughout the film, suggesting that director Benh Zeitlin drew inspiration from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its long-term effects.
Driven by the sudden storm of changes, Hushpuppy sets off with a few of her fearless friends in hopes of finding her long-lost mother. The hardened heroine leads the group towards a lighthouse that she calls “mama” and often speaks to from a distance; placed upon the horizon, the lighthouse is the only beacon of light seen from the Bathtub.
What Beasts of the Southern Wild lacks in the formation of an intricate plot, it greatly makes up for through the film’s overall presence and the poetic perseverance of the human heart, no matter its size. Hushpuppy, played by Quvenzhané Wallis, charms audiences as one of the most powerful, petite protagonists to find their way onto the big screen, bringing a childish spirit to the film which guides viewers through her derelict dream world that is the Bathtub.