• PG-13, 1 hr. 31 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Benh Zeitlin
    In Theaters:
    Jun 27, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Dec 4, 2012
  • Fox Searchlight

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Beasts of the Southern Wild Reviews

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MANUGINO
MANUGINO

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2013
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. Quvenzhanť 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.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2013
Beautiful.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2012
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...
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

June 28, 2013
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.
Sunny D

Super Reviewer

March 4, 2013
'Beasts of the Southern Wild' will be remembered as one of the strongest debuts a director has ever released. The film is touching, original, and directed to perfection. Quvenzhane Wallis has drawn much of the attention for her performance as Hushpuppy, but Dwight Henry deserves praise for his role as Wink as well. 'Beasts' will make viewers feel a wide range of emotions, and will leave most audience's very satisfied. Grade: A
Dan S

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2013
A skilled, unique film in the vein of "Winter's Bone" concerning a young girl (Quvenzhane Wallis) and her hot-tempered father (Dwight Henry), living in a poverty-stricken area off the coast of Louisiana, and how a storm shakes their tight-knit community. While not as good as 'Bone' and perhaps a little over-rated (nominated for Best Picture? Really Academy?), this is still a solid film which features some great acting from a bunch of unknowns, and the director appears to be filming a documentary sometimes. It feels longer than it is, and besides the storm there's not a whole ton going on, but the relationship between the girl and her father is gripping enough to make it worthwhile in the end.
Daniel L

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2013
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a wonderful spectacle of a movie that features thoughtful direction, impressive cinematography, and a unique and emotional story.
Paulo G

Super Reviewer

January 26, 2013
Detailed review to follow.
Graham J

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2013
Pure poetry. With minimal dialogue and a beautiful score it plays more like a song. Also great performances from the two leads.
TomBowler
TomBowler

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2013
If beauty is truth and vice versa, this is the most beautifully true movie of the year. Full review later.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2013
A child and her unstable father live in a insulated bayou community.
Structurally, Beasts of the Southern Wild has an exposition that lasts far too long, as most of the first hour depicts the personality of the community. Perhaps this is director Benh Zeitlin's primary focus - a character study in which the place is the character - but I found myself waiting for the real story to begin for quite some time. When the central conflict between Hughpuppy and her father and the community and the authorities finally comes to the fore, the film was compelling, but it takes some time to get there.
Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest actress ever to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, has about three facial expressions, defiantly angry, hurt/sad, and innocently searching. It's surprising that one can ride such a limited emotional palette to the red carpet, but I can see why some people found her portrayal of Hushpuppy to be an example of purity and innocence even though I wasn't drawn in by it. Dwight Henry, another non-actor, gives an even better performance, but I wish the script had allowed a deeper understanding of what motivates his character's mood swings; he's at turns abusive and loving, and there's little reason for his behavior.
Overall, this is a good film, but going into it with expectations and hope that it would unseat Les Miz, which I didn't like that much, as the best film of the year, I was a little disappointed.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2013
Striking,poetic; "Beast of the Southern Wild" is a simple film that becomes increasingly complex the more the filmmakers cement the fact that the story is being told entirely from a child's point of view. Fitting since at that age everything is vague and the world holds such an unexplained mystique. Director Benh Zeitlin explores these feelings beautifully in a loose and beautiful little story of survival and the strength to overcome loss, environmental hazards, and the "beasts" we happen to cross paths with every once in a while. Lead Quvenzhane Wallis gives an unforgettably nuanced performance, and Dwight Henry (playing her father) is equally strong. The film's use of shaky cam adds to the experience, evoking a sense grit and realism while it's deliberate pace and select scenes that seem to meander build a sense of place and further develop our little heroin in the subtlest of ways.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2012
Not only does this fictional story feel like an actual documentary, but I personally felt every emotion that jumped off the screen and into my heart. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" follows an almost orphaned little girl as she treks through life alone, fending for herself as her father slowly dies. Their town has recently been hit by a massive storm, leaving the town flooded. This film is more triumphant than anything, knowing exactly which beats to hit and when to hit them. This up-and-coming director (Behn Zeitlin) definitely has a strong career ahead of him. The writing is tremendous and the performances are terrific. This is easily one of the best of 2012!
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

December 14, 2012
A spellbinding film that properly uses a shaky handheld camera and a welcome visual poetry to enhance its sense of fantastic naturalism - and it boasts a wonderful performance by the young Quvenzhane Wallis, in a touching story about love and courage.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

December 21, 2012
2012 has been a bit of an underwhelming year at the movies for me. So many films have promised so much, yet failed to deliver. It's encouraging though, that one of the art-house films of the year comes along and restores your faith in creative and original cinema. "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" is exactly that type of film.
Based on the one-act play "Juicy and Delicious" by Lucy Alibar, this tells the tale of Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) a philosophical little girl who lives in a rundown Louisiana town called "The Bathtub". It's a bayou steeped in poverty, yet brings a certain freedom to the villagers. Their freedom is compromised though, when a storm floods the entire area and kills the livestock, forcing the community to flee their homes in search of pastures new.
As we are introduced to our young protagonist Hushpuppy, we see her building a nest for a bird and before long we witness her holding small chicks to her ear to hear their heartbeat. In her own words "Strong animals know when your hearts are weak." This is a child that's completely in touch with nature. It's this very understanding and connection with nature that makes her such a sweet and appealing character and one that's a real pleasure to share her journey with. That journey takes shape in her struggle for survival and a sense of belonging, as her home is destroyed in a storm, leading her on her life-affirming travels that address the nature of family, community and the refusal to be defeated or succumb to the norm. This is a film about culture and the automatic assumption that those who live a different lifestyle (even impoverished) need to be helped or changed into a mainstream or industrialised way of living. Ultimately though, it's a right-of-passage story about bravery and survival and an allegory for climate change.
It's strikingly shot throughout with the camera rarely staying still, adding that all important, stark sense of realism, required for the material. This is a film that's filmed from a child's eye view and young Quvenzhané Wallis (who was only 5 years old at the time of filming) is absolutely outstanding in the lead role. This young, untrained, actress should not be overlooked when the awards are being dished out. Fine support also comes from Dwight Henry as her defiant, stoic and seemingly harsh father Wink. To think that these two performers had never actually acted before is astonishing. They both deliver some of the best work all year. There are also shades of director Terrence Malick ("The Tree Of Life") and his fascination with flora and fauna and it also adopts his scrutiny of such things. Quite simply, this is a stunning debut from director Benh Zeitlin who's not afraid to infuse his story with surreal and highly effective visual moments of mythical wild aurochs who pursue Hushpuppy on her travels. It manages that rare ability to balance fantasy and reality and does so with such poetic flair. There was a moment in the film where I thought it was losing it's way and rushing towards it's conclusion but this was short-lived; it soon got back on track and finished with absolute aplomb.
Throughout the soulful journey, we get to know and love Hushpuppy and in her moment of self-assurance she informs us "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"... How could we ever forget?
Heartwarming, uplifting and not without it's moments of pathos. This is a film of purity and truth and one of the years very best.
Jason Lalljee
Jason Lalljee

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2012
A soulful, poetic, and involving work of art, "Beasts" is equal parts allegoric and heartwarming.
Sam B

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2012
The characters in this poem of a film are forces of nature, played by actors who are forces of nature, in a story about fighting forces of nature. Meanwhile, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a powerful force to be reckoned with, beautiful, atmospheric, imaginative, and emotionally bold.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2012
Every year there is at least one off beat Independent movie that gets a lot of buzz going into award season. This year it's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" a small movie that came out in May and I've read a lot about it's chances to get a lot of nominations. It's a weird and very touching movie about a little girl named Hushpuppy(Quvenzhane Wallis) who lives with her ill father in the Bathtub. The Bathtub is a small community down in the Bayou, that gets ravaged by a storm. She has to struggle with survival, her Dad's illness, and just the crazy circumstances of her life. Wallis gives an amazing performance for such a young girl(she is 9 I believe). I can see her getting all kinds of nominations(I don't know about wins, but definitely some noms). The rest of the cast is good and are very authentic to the environment. The movie is different, and movies slow at times, but it's a good watch. Emily enjoyed it(she rarely stays awake to watch movies), so I think women in general will enjoy it. If your looking for something different, check this out, it'll surprise you.
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