‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ renders up something fantastical
A view of the world in the eyes of Hushpuppy
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 15:09
Beauty is subjective. This is never more evident than in the new film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” As the feature begins, we immediately find ourselves lost in the captivating whimsy of the 7-year-old protagonist, Hushpuppy. Filled with the wonderment only a child can possess, the film follows her through her gritty, delta-like rural home; affectionately referred to as “The Bathtub.”
Cut off from the rest of established society by levees some time ago, we take part in the exuberant and prideful lifestyles of the Bathtubbians through the eyes and mindset of Hushpuppy. Attending a form of rudimentary schooling and living in a trailer completely separate from that of her father, we follow Hushpuppy in her day-to-day struggles. Subject to a muddled relationship of intense love and neglect with her father, and abandoned by her mother at a very young age, we distress over the fate of the young one.
After a terrible storm wrecks The Bathtub, Hushpuppy and her father, Wink, attempt to find a solution to save their now flooded homestead. With the livestock and crops beginning to die off, Wink and a rag-tag team of survivors must decide on what to do next. With their land in ruins, the film turns to yet another impending challenge, the Aurochs, only just recently let loose from their icy prisons to the south.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” is an impressive tale of love and independence. Though it is a simple one between father and daughter, it tells it with such invigorating honesty and richness that it sometimes touches transcendence. The juxtapositions between what is felt and what is seen occur so often it is hard to keep any one opinion in check. The camerawork is loose. however lush and authentic. The soundtrack bleeds and booms at moments meant to leave both a sense of vigor and a twinge of sadness. By the end of the feature, it is difficult not to agree with the fierce views of our little heroine as she describes the “beauty” around her in all its grimy detail.