Film Review: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Written by Lucy Alibar and Zeitlin, based on Alibar’s play “Juicy and Delicious”
Starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper, Levy Easterly

Hushpuppy is a six-year old girl who lives in the Bathtub, an area of Louisiana below New Orleans that she thinks is the prettiest place on earth. She lives a fragile yet wondrous existence with her father, a man who teaches her the skills to survive and yet threatens that very survival with his weaknesses. Father and daughter live among a bi-racial group of poor yet contented people until Katerina hits. Their attempts to rebuild their little piece of Louisiana runs amok of the devastation of the storm and of the bureaucracy that wants to save them. Their rescue is more frightening than the storm in many respects because living in a shelter is beyond the ken of these freedom-loving eccentrics. The contrast of their life on the island and their days in that shelter makes us want to take flight too.

This is one of the most original movies I have ever seen. The actors are locals, it is a first feature and made on a shoestring. And yet Zeitlin has been able to cobble together a miraculous film. A lot of its success hinges on the performances of Wallis and Henry, who are totally believable in their roles. The film shows their strengths but doesn’t embellish them. It respects its characters without making them too noble or heroic. We go away believing that a six-year old has the fortitude to persist, to survive, come hell or high water.
Highly recommended.

Patti
Be sure to stop by http://www.pattinase.blogspot.com/ to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon