Beasts of the Southern Wild

While the story is fundamentally flawed, it’s still a great one to tell. And while the artistic execution isn’t completely flawless, its intention was well portrayed. In other words, I really enjoyed this beautifully shot Oscar-nominated film.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is the first feature-length film of director Benh Zeitlin, whose film is criticized for being too allegorical in some scenes. I did just fine, though. I didn’t mind the overt trying-a-little-too-hard artisticness, especially because the film is completely stolen by its Oscar-nominated actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, who was only 6 when the film was shot. Not only is she absolutely adorable as Hushpuppy, of course, but her charisma and strong facial expressions were simply magnetic.

Dialogue between the characters is sparse at best which doesn’t allow for much character development besides that of Hushpuppy’s – duh, she’s the main character. But her narration throughout the film was well written – it was at times funny but mostly incredibly reflective and poetic for a 6-year-old. Moreover, it was well orated for a 6-year-old. (Can you tell I’m just floored by Wallis’s performance?) But as a kid living in the “Bathtub,” you grow up pretty quickly. Her dad and the other adults in the micro community made sure of it.

The story is a simple allegory which I believe the director tried a little too hard to disguise, but I appreciate his craft.

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