William's Review of Beasts of the Southern Wild
A six yo girl navigates a world of real magical-realism in a fictitious post-Katrina New Orleans outcast community called the Bathtub. There isn't a great narrative here, but shit this is a masterpiece of world creation and the lead girl has tremendous presence. Houses built on stilts the better to be ready for future floods, a community that has chosen to live in the abandoned sections of the world carving out their own freedom and despair and non-stop parties, harvesting buckets of shrimp or hand-caught-then-punched-fish for dinner, igniting a gas stove with a flamethrower (it all feels real in the moment but sure, it's a little preposterous when you think about basic efficiency), boats made from pick-up truck beds, magical giant beasts called aurochs that return to the world after being encased in ice. The real feat is that it all feels organic. And its score affects and propels you into it, like Arcade Fire-lite. Some of the scenes are just beautiful: the fireworks show with Hushpuppy, the six yo lead, running about with roman candles firing from her arms; the twinkling lights when Hushpuppy is in a possibly imagined night club. Very much worthwhile, even if the story isn't much and is layered under non-cohesive declarations by Hushpuppy that sound more powerful and deep than make sense.