Beasts of the Southern Wild - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Beasts of the Southern Wild Reviews

Top Critic
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
June 17, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
January 8, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
October 16, 2012
A dreamy but strikingly immediate and frayed-at-the-edges, child's-eye view of life on the margins of America.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 20, 2012
A beautiful, strange tone poem about childhood and innocence.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 19, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 19, 2012
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a film to get lost in.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
July 13, 2012
Beasts is film as natural mystery museum.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
July 13, 2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild marks one of the most auspicious American directorial debuts in years.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
July 12, 2012
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" stays with you long after you've watched it, like a vaguely troubling but beautiful dream.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 12, 2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild is like outsider art: patched together with found materials, conjured up by untrained artists (the actors), and evocative of a truly American attitude of eccentricity, boldness, transcendence.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 12, 2012
It hews to no aesthetic or political party line. It is simply life, seen through the kaleidoscope eyes of a brave, imaginative child.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
July 12, 2012
It's unlike any film you've seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
July 12, 2012
It's as if you're looking out at new land you've never seen before, or an old one you haven't really paid attention to.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 6, 2012
A film that plays less like a grounded, human-scaled story than a dilettantish piece of cultural tourism.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
July 5, 2012
Its fertility and its terror stem from the same truth: To the young mind, there is no sealed barrier cleaving reality from fantasy. Not yet. The wall hasn't been built.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 5, 2012
Here is why some of us love the movies: They let you see with brand new eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 5, 2012
The filmmaker comes from a perspective of great empathy and considerable skill. But he's a pile driver as a dramatist.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
July 5, 2012
This film is a remarkable creation, imagining a self-reliant community without the safety nets of the industrialized world.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 3, 2012
[An] extraordinary southern gothic.
Top Critic
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
July 3, 2012
In filmmaking, as in Hushpuppy's world, everything must fit together just right. And in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," everything does.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Richard Brody
New Yorker
July 1, 2012
[Zeitlin's] as enraptured by his own imagery as by the poetry of the settings but never finds a distinctive form for his ambitious vision.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
June 29, 2012
Director Benh Zeitlin, working from a script by Lucy Alibar adapted from her stage play Juicy and Delicious, can't seem to get a visual rhythm going.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
June 29, 2012
Spielberg will love this film, if he doesn't already. Zeitlin's ability to create a believable world out of seemingly impossible ingredients is just that good.
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
June 29, 2012
Movies that mix magic and gritty realism almost never work , but Zeitlin, who is making an auspicious feature directing debut, pulls it off with awesome results.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
June 28, 2012
The images recall Terrence Malick, but the film fills "atmosphere" into dry narrative holes where a story should reside.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
June 28, 2012
There's no trace of calculation, only artistic ambitions and hopes that have come to fruition in the year's finest film thus far.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 28, 2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a game-changer that gets you excited about movies again. Star Quvenzhané Wallis is a flat-out amazement.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
June 28, 2012
Zeitlin's adoring gaze on the Bathtubbers' chaotic-yet-joyous way of life smacks of anthropological voyeurism: Rousseau's "noble savage" nonsense all over again, but with crawdads and zydeco.
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
June 28, 2012
Beasts moves with a dreamlike pulse, and is never better than when it doesn't feel the need to move much at all.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 27, 2012
The movie is small, local, and idiosyncratic. Then again, it's also a thing of beauty and originality - and for that, sustained huzzahs are in order.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
June 27, 2012
Treat yourself to the experience of this perfect storm of a film, and the tiny force of nature that is Quvenzhané Wallis.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 27, 2012
Don't miss this one. A brave and inspired antidote to time-wasting mainstream movies, it is unlike anything you've seen before or will likely ever see again. In short, it is unforgettable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
June 27, 2012
The film doesn't self-righteously revile these characters, which is fine. But perhaps worse, it loftily treats them like something out of Rousseau...
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
June 27, 2012
An extraordinary new drama whose fierceness, like its 6-year-old heroine Hushpuppy, grabs on and won't let go.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
June 26, 2012
Their surroundings-decimated cars converted into boats, kindly neighbors, a complete lack of pop detritus (save a Bulls jersey)-shriek of Screenwriterly Poetic Conceit.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
June 26, 2012
In trying through incessant narration to make a six-year-old a prolix sage, Zeitlin can't avoid falling into sticky sentimentality.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
June 26, 2012
It is a beautifully acted, gorgeously shot work of potent emotional resonance, with a superbly evocative musical score.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 26, 2012
This movie is a blast of sheer, improbable joy, a boisterous, thrilling action movie with a protagonist who can hold her own alongside Katniss Everdeen, Princess Merida and the other brave young heroines of 2012.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
June 26, 2012
It is strikingly hardheaded in its perception that the picayune dilemmas hotly debated on the media-mommy blogs are completely beside the point for a whole underclass of kids who must be brought up tough and self-reliant in order to survive.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 26, 2012
The movie comes across as a collection of competing themes and ideas that collide more often than complement one another and never fully gel.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
June 25, 2012
Beasts is striking and affecting in all kinds of ways.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Robert Levin
The Atlantic
June 9, 2012
A love letter to the people of the Bayou State, who have persevered in the face of apocalyptic tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
January 25, 2012
It's undoubtedly something extraordinary: like a live-action Miyazaki film, with Days Of Heaven narration, set in a dirt-poor community at an unspecified time of crisis.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 24, 2012
An exceptional American independent feature that deserves the best efforts to tap audiences that would surely embrace it.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
January 21, 2012
A stunning debut that finds its dandelion-haired heroine fighting rising tides and fantastic creatures in a mythic battle against modernity.