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Archive for the ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Category

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild follows six year old Hushpuppy and her family in a rural Louisiana bayou.  They live in a closed off community in which they do anything they can to make ends meet and survive.  Hushpuppy is a precocious child that gets into messes often.  She accidentally sets fire to her house one day, and is scolded by her father.  Her father is an angry man that is a product of the world in which he lives in.  He has no hope.  He only knows how to survive.

A storm is fast approaching as well and the residents of the small community begin to flee or find ways to take shelter.  The film jumps back and forth from the “Bathtub” community that Hushpuppy lives in, and images of Arctic icecaps melting rapidly, foreshadowing the coming of an epic storm.  We see the world through Hushpuppy’s eyes.  It’s a fascinating and vibrant living world that we can only learn about through the eyes of a child.  It is a stark contrast from the devastation of the community, and more importantly the devastation that is fast approaching.  There is more than just the melting glaciers.  There are also mythical beasts called Aurochs that are coming with it.

As those around them flee, Hushpuppy and her father wait the storm out in their small shack.  Her father loses his grip on reality, drinking and challenging the storm to come and get him.  Hushpuppy is taught by her father how to survive.  He only has his survival instincts to help Hushpuppy exist in the changing landscape.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantasy tale that resides as much in the realm of reality as it can.  This reality is what makes the film terrifying at times.  We live in a world where events such as Hurricane Katrina happen and devastate the landscape of our world much like the world depicted here.  Hushpuppy and her father travel the length of the bayou coming across all sorts of crazy characters as they all try and find safe haven.

The film has been getting rave reviews by many critics, finding itself firmly planted on multiple top 10 lists.  I feel like it could go either way here.  On one hand it’s an interesting take on a sort of end of world or at least post devastation scenario.  We meet a lot of interesting people, and learn about their lives.  We are embraced by their culture and way of life.  On the other hand…it’s kind of boring and heavy-handed.  It’s a well made film though, and I can see what a lot of people find such value in it.  Just keep that in mind if you so chose to watch the film.

Grade: B