Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Hushpuppy with her daddy in the Bathtub and this is her story. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a wondrous and moving tale of a little community off of Louisiana that tries to band together in the wake of a apocalyptic storm that threatens their way of living. This first time feature by director Benh Zeitlin will stay with you long after the end credits roll.
Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young girl like no other. She's clever, curious and has these eyes that seem so much older than the six years she's lived on the planet. She knows much of the universe and how she fits into it but still is in search of that 'something' that's missing from her life. Her father Wink (Dwight Henry) seems uncaring and drinks too much but at heart, he wants to do right by his daughter and that she knows how to survive for herself.
You can't really say much about this film but it's something that needs to experienced and felt. Hushpuppy as a character reminded so much of the young strong females of the Miyazaki universe especially with her stare down with the beasts that stepped right out of the Bathtub universe and mythology. Her fierce nature leaps off the screen and embeds itself in you. This mainly due to little Wallis, in the finest, truest performance I have seen in a young actor ever.
The characters, the ramshackle group that makes up the community that decides to stay back and brave the storm, are incredibly lively and very loyal towards one another. The scenario that they find themselves in after the water rises and the animals start dying is utterly heartbreaking. And yet the people of the Bathtub persevere and refuse to leave the land.
This is a film to be experienced personally and the best thing about the film is that it will mean different things to different people. But we all will know the story of Hushpuppy, the boldest, brightest star to shine through in the wilds of the Bathtub.
Directed by Benh Zeitlin; Screenplay by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin; Based on the play 'Juicy and Delicious' by Lucy Alibar; Cinematography by Ben Richardson; Editing by Crockett Doob and Alfonso Goncalves; Music by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin