I started writing this post in February after I saw the movie, but since no trailer was available to show, it never got published. The film is unlike any I’ve ever seen, which is why I felt like a trailer would be a helpful supplement to whatever I could manage to write. But not only is there a trailer now, but this fine little film is also in theaters, and you should go see it.
Thanks to Alison, I got to see Beasts of the Southern Wild during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The gritty, mythological story follows (and is narrated by) six year-old Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy and her father, Wink, live in “the Bathtub,” a shantytown of sorts at the edge of a coastal Louisiana levee. Life in the Bathtub is both severe and idyllic. Living in the Bathtub, Hushpuppy is free and constantly engaged with her surroundings, unlike the people on the mainland, where “they got fish stuck in plastic wrappers… [and] they got babies stuck in carriages…,” and where children are taught to fear the water. A storm bears down on the Bathtub, and the vulnerability of the community is laid bare, even as the stubborn and independent Wink refuses to back down.
The film works because Quvenzhané Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy, is perfection in front of the camera. Her performance is so natural, it’s unnerving.
Do yourself a favor and go see it.