Somewhere in Southern Louisiana there is „the bathtub“ an isolated place where a little community is living. Among them lives Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and her father Wink (Dwight Henry). In school Hushpuppy has learned that before the ice age giant Beasts roamed the earth but the ice has killed them. With the melting of the polar caps (also a thing she learned) there is only one conclusion for Hushpuppy: the beasts who until now have been frozen will break out of the ice to return – and crush everything in their path.
And if this is the last post on this site: Happy end of the world, see you on the other side!
Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of the Oscar-contenders I was afraid of watching. The trailer and poster is laced with quotes by critics and the Louisiana setting with its hurricane Katrina association made this movie feel like it would be a very lecturing and self important. But with only 90 minutes runtime this movie was a joyous celebration of life – did that sound important enough to keep you off watching the film?
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a highly entertaining and touching film. It is never really clear if the world is actually ending under the onslaught of the beasts or if it is just Hushpuppy’s interpretation because she has lost her home in a big flood.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a kind of optimistic Pan’s Labyrinth a fairy tale where you are never sure if it is just the imagination to escape reality or if it is actually happening. Especially the subplot about the mother is particularly well handled allowing for many interpretations and still making the audience question if it is not just Hushpuppy’s interpretation.
The mentality of the inhabitants of the bathtub is that if a person dies you are not allowed to cry for you must celebrate the passing into the heavens. And the movie tests this rule for both characters and audience – to the point where the movie literally reminds us of the rule during the most emotional scene.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an enganging and satisfying story. The stark contrast between Hushpuppy’s simplified narration in contrast with the harsh reality makes the film even more engaging. Probably the biggest strength of the movie is the fact that because narration and reality are so different you don’t feel lectured like you do with the usual fare of “important movies”.