Our editorial team at The Power Player Lifestyle Magazine places this unique masterpiece as one of the best films of 2012. The director is brilliant, the cast is amazing. This film captures the essence of your mind, body and soul…..This is a must see film for the entire family to enjoy and reflect upon. – Lela Christine
Once in a blue moon a film comes along and delivers perfection from all ends of the cinematic spectrum. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those films and is, quite frankly, the most extraordinary film I’ve seen in some time. A top prizewinner at Sundance and Cannes, Beasts is epic, sublime, poetic and will stick with you long after you leave the theater.
Review By Brent Lowe
Director/co-writer Behn Zeitlin offers a master class in filmmaking that makes it hard to believe this is his debut film. He takes us into a fictionalized world of an area of the Louisiana bayou called the Bathtub. This water-bound mass of land is well forgotten by civilization and faces eradication due to rising waters and other geophysical calamities. In this world we see a defiant community of denizens who cheerfully exist while withstanding primitive circumstances. They are a proud group of inhabitants who would rather live and die in this perilous land despite government orders to evacuate.
Zeitlin also introduces us to Hushpuppy, the film’s 6 year-old heroine, who serves as narrator and through whose imaginative eyes we see the fate of the Bathtub unravel. Hushpuppy is beyond her years in age and philosophical understanding of the effects of a shifting universal balance currently taking place. She sees this shift would inevitably melt the icecaps and revive aurochs, mythological boar-like creatures that will return to the Bathtub where it once ruled. In order to prevent this calamity, Hushpuppy embarks on a Dickensian journey filled with a mix of poignant metaphors, harsh realities and fairy-tale mystique.
Hushpuppy lives with her ailing father Wink (David Henry) who teaches her fearlessness and essential survival skills. His ruthless teaching style may not bode well with the you-need-a-timeout- technique employed by most parents of today, but what he instills in her is the capacity to survive the brutalities of the Bathtub and the ability to be self-sufficient when he passes away. As the story unfolds, father and daughter ride out a torrential storm that floods their home to the roof. After the storm wanes, they find themselves banding with a group of fellow self-sufficient neighborhood characters who help each other to survive in a Noah’s Ark setting. The residents are eventually whisked away by government officials to safer housing, but being the resilient bunch they are, they escape back to the Bathtub, as it is where they belong and where they will die.
You can’t help but to be reminded of Hurricane Katrina or the Gulf oil spill when watching this film but Zeitlin avoids sending political messages. What we get is more an ideological commentary on humanity and how we respond when the things we love are faced with a death sentence.
A key element of the film that works well is the casting of mostly first-time actors. This gives Beasts an honest and unaffected realness missing from most films today. Specifically, the casting of Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy will be recognized as the film’s greatest achievement. According to Zeitlin, the role of Hushpuppy required a combination of fierceness, imagination and creativity. After auditioning over 4000 girls ages 6-9, Zeitlin finally found Wallis — who was only 5 at the time – at a local library. “Her resonance in the quiet moments was unparalleled to anyone else – no one had come close to that,” says Zeitlin. “The look in her eyes and the intensity and amount of feeling you could see going on inside was so powerful. She had a huge will of her own that I couldn’t control”. Wallis is one of the most precocious child actresses to grace the screen in years. Her organic performance in Beasts is what Oscar nominations are made of.
Everyone needs to seek out Beasts of the Southern Wild when it opens in theaters. Itis an incredible debut film worthy of all its praise. Even though we are months away from Awards Season, I would like to give an early congratulation to the cast and crew on their Oscar nomination.
Power Player Lifestyle Magazine gives Beast of the Southern Wild a 4.9 on the 5-point PowerMeter
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Jonshel Alexander
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Screenwriters: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Running time: 93
About Beast Of The Southern Wild
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
Fox Searchlight Pictures presents, in association with Cinereach, a Cinereach and Court 13 Production, in association with Journeyman Pictures, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry.
The film is directed by Benh Zeitlin and screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin based on the stage play Juicy and Delicious written by Lucy Alibar. The producers are Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey & Josh Penn. The executive producers are Philipp Engelhorn, Michael Raisler and Paul Mezey with Matthew Parker and Chris Carroll as co-producers. The creative team includes director of photography Ben Richardson, production designer Alex DiGerlando, edited by Crockett Doob and Affonso Gonçalves, music by Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin and costume designer Stephani Lewis.
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