Is ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ the Best American Movie in Years? (VIDEO)July 5th, 2012 | Posted by in Featured Movies | Movies
You may never have had a love affair with a movie before, but you’re about to, and Beasts of the Southern Wild is its name.
Beasts is a magical slice of the squalor of southern Louisiana poverty; helplessness in the hardship of a broken home; and soaring hope evinced in the fierce life of six-year-old Hushpuppy (a devastatingly good Quvenzhane Wallis) as she searches for her mother in a world crumbling at the edges and visited by giant prehistoric boars.
It’s hard to find one’s moorings in this movie—and that’s a good thing—from first-time director, Benh Zeitlin, with its sumptuous Terrence Malick-like cinematography and a force of nature performance from Ms. Wallis as Hushpuppy.
You get swept up inside Hushpuppy’s head, and then get swept away by Mr. Zeitlin’s lyrical imagery. It leaves you queasy with torment, yet compassionate to a world that you probably will never experience. You cheer for the spirit and resilience of this little girl because she’s you. She’s all of us. She’s the universal spirit that will never surrender.
The narrative, such as there is, is set in the bayous and backwaters of Louisiana as we follow Hushpuppy’s fight to survive in her tiny shantytown known as the Bathtub with an ill father and a Katrina-like storm approaching.
Shot with locals with little or no acting experience, Beast arrives in theaters with a high-wire reputation after wowing at Sundance to win the grand jury prize and scooping the Camera d’Or for best first film at Cannes and leaving critics breathless with praise for this small film with big heart.
That’s why I fell in love with Beasts of the Southern Wild… its big heart.
You will, too.