December 4, 2012
PG-13; 94 minutes
info at IMDb/buy on Amazon/Amazon Instant Video
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.Beasts of the Southern Wild isn't some big budget, studio blockbuster. Nor does it have A-list stars. There aren't giant, pyrotechnic explosions and it's not all done on green screen or with everyone wearing motion capture suits . . . or in 3-D.
It's not a film I can tell you reminds me of A or B or that you should see it if you liked C or D. Really, you should just see it.
The more I hear (through different stories on the film) or see (again through media but also DVD extras) about the making of this movie, the more I am in love with it. Beasts of the Southern Wild just seems like the kind of movie that anyone who's been involved with any sort of production - play, film, high school musical, elementary school talent show on down -- can't help but be happy about.
The co-writers moved to the area to write their script, their friends and family were involved in the production, town residents were extras in the film, some were on the crew, Many of the actors are from Louisiana bayou country and also either unknown actors or not previously actors.
All of which you would not know to watch it. You'd know there was something special and one of a kind about it, yes. Would you know that that actor had never acted before? I certainly don't think so. Quvenzhané Wallis is nominated for an Oscar for playing Hushpuppy but I think the other actors did fantastic jobs as well, Dwight Henry, in particular for playing her father. (She is definitely superb, though.)
It's not a safe or conventional story and it doesn't take a lot of the routes I, actually, expected -- even during the course of watching it. It's a fable of sorts, with little Hushpuppy scared of the ancient aurochs while at the same time learning about the modern day dangers.
I don't know if the filmmakers can replicate the kind of feeling they created in Beasts or if it was a one shot deal or if the actors will be as great in other films (if they all choose to continue acting). I do know these things, however, I hope they'll all attempt it because I'm ready and anxious to see the results . . . and you most definitely need to see Beasts of the Southern Wild.