Sunday, February 24, 2013

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The first movie in the Academy Award schedule at AMC, Beasts of the Southern Wild follows the story of a young girl who faces great adversity in a bayou community, presumably in the Louisiana area.  Hushpuppy lives with her father in a small farm-like space, there doesn’t appear to be any running water or proper homes, as most people would expect.  Her mother is out of the picture and her father is very ill.  The pair stay in their home no matter the weather, despite the danger when storms come through.  They are joined by a few other folks who also stay in the bayou, unafraid of the impending chaos a flood creates.  The people band together through a tough storm, only to be forced out of their homes by the government once the place was truly no longer safe.  After a short stop in a shelter, they all break out, the father trying to send Hushpuppy on without him, but she refuses.

What is striking about this movie is not just the young actress, Quvenzhane Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy with such heart, it is both stirring and heart-breaking.  The story is quite compelling from the very beginning.  The relationship between the father and daughter is both familiar and yet not so.  The father was left to raise the girl on his own, and he does an admirable job, though questions rise if he had chosen to move, how much easier, relatively speaking, would their lives have been.  The supporting cast was quite competent and had passing moments.  Unfortunately, the movie ends in a bittersweet sort of way, leaving you hoping for more, almost thankful there isn’t more at the same time.

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