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Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)



Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 182
Fresh: 156 | Rotten: 26

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.


Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 10

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 37,788

My Rating

Movie Info

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 world 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



Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Dec 4, 2012


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All Critics (182) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (156) | Rotten (26) | DVD (3)

What is also extraordinary is that almost all the people we see are actors. So this is not a documentary but a moving enactment by people who are themselves moved.

June 17, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beasts of the Southern Wild is sheer poetry on screen: an explosion of joy in the midst of startling squalor and one of the most visceral, original films to come along in a while.

January 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dreamy but strikingly immediate and frayed-at-the-edges, child's-eye view of life on the margins of America.

October 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A beautiful, strange tone poem about childhood and innocence.

July 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The atmosphere Zeitlin develops here is moist with promise and danger, and he moves back and forth between outright fable and pungent reality with an astounding sureness of vision for a first-time director.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a film to get lost in.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comments (2)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As Wink, Hushpuppy's father, Dwight Henry is one of the greatest finds in Hollywood in years. Henry shows a depth and range that made actors like Denzel Washington so great.

September 14, 2014 Full Review Source:

A cute, but meandering story of growing up alone and having to fend for oneself even when there's help to be received.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

One of the ten best films of 2012.

January 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Rage Monthly
Rage Monthly

A strangely different and slightly magical film.

January 23, 2013 Full Review Source: The Standard
The Standard

Prepare to be moved and inspired by this unique masterpiece.

January 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Beasts of the Southern Wild is the reason we go to movies.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The Reel Deal
The Reel Deal

Yearns to find eternal truths under impossible circumstances, and succeeds with flying colors by my watch.

January 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

In his willingness to ignore convention, Zeitlin does reveal a confidence that few first-time directors display. He's made a film that's the antithesis of Hollywood's summer mind-set.

January 8, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

For all its curiosities and loose ends, Beasts of the Southern Wild casts a formidable spell.

December 31, 2012 Full Review Source:

A startling debut feature - this year's "Winter's Bone," but a film all the more magical because we sense that even Zeitlin, as sharp as his eye undoubtably is, will never be able to duplicate it.

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Without TREMÉ, BEASTS would not have worked for me, and compared to TREMÉ, BEASTS is little more than a slight, forgettable diversion.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Twitch

Really the lifestyle of these people takes center stage. It's hard not to appreciate their joie de vivre, or the believable performances these non-actors give. They're both "beasts"!

December 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film with the biggest heart of 2012.

December 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

I doubt anyone is going to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild and understand it immediately... But it's still a fascinating movie.

December 9, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

This movie has to be seen to be believed, and to be believed, it simply has to be seen.

December 4, 2012 Full Review Source: ABC Radio (Australia)
ABC Radio (Australia)

Fully formed and beautiful whether you like it or not.

December 4, 2012 Full Review Source: CraveOnline

When you live in the city and you buy your meat wrapped in cellophane, it's a pleasant fantasy to believe that people who sleep in the dirt and gut their dinners are possessed of a spiritual richness that you've always felt you're somehow lacking.

December 3, 2012 Full Review Source: FilmDrunk

The strangest, sweetest coming-of-age flick you'll see all year.

November 29, 2012 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Once there was a Hushpuppy...

Good Film! You have never seen anything quite like "Beasts of the Southern Wild". It is a film that will have you thinking about the love between a father and a daughter, about appreciating what you have in life and our ability to adapt to whatever comes at us. Quvenzhané Wallis is certain to beat Anna Paquin and Tatum O'Neal out as the youngest best actress nominee in history. Best original Screenplay is also almost a certainty. Go in with an open mind and enjoy this unique film that plays almost like a documentary and yet is full of fantasy elements as well. If I have one quibble with the film it is the hand-held camera technique that at least in the early scenes is particularly annoying. It usually takes so much from my enjoyment of the film. I get it though, it gives it a more realistic feel and in this film it may have added to the overall experience. Still bugs me though.

Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink's tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
February 13, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

An interesting movie. Not sure that I get the significance of it all. I found it sad, and confusing. People seemed to do things without any discernible reason. The little girl did a great job of acting, but I think it is one of those movies that people praise because they are too embarrassed to admit that they didn't understand it. I don't understand what the hype was about, personally...
November 18, 2013

Super Reviewer

Strange and beautiful, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a one off. Quvenzhane Wallis deserves the praise she received but I think Dwight Henry deserves much credit too, both were fantastic. It's a very modern and unique fairytale, Benh Zeitlin like all great directors obviously has a good eye and can see beauty were it would usually be overlooked. To write a long review of it would be as pointless as writing an essay about my favourite smell. This film is something to be experienced rather than watched. Treat yourself.
June 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Hushpuppy: I hate you! I hate you! And when you die I'm gonna eat birthday cake on your grave!
    – Submitted by Racheal A (16 months ago)
    1. Hushpuppy: Everybody loses the thing that made them. The brave men stay and watch it happen. They don't run!
    – Submitted by Farzan N (17 months ago)
    1. Hushpuppy: When an animal gets sick here, they plug it into the wall.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (18 months ago)
    1. Hushpuppy: I'm recording my story for the scientists in the future. In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know: once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in The Bathtub.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (18 months ago)
    1. Little Jo: As I stand by the bayou, I watch a ship as she disappears. There, she is gone. And we cry for this. But she's not gone. She's just as real as when she left me. And somewhere else, other voices calling out. Here she comes. And that is dying. Here she comes!
    – Submitted by Melissa M (18 months ago)
    1. Hushpuppy: When you're a small piece of a big puzzle, you gotta fix what you can.
    – Submitted by Charles R (20 months ago)
View all quotes (26)

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