HOLLYWOOD—Indie picks do not get the love that they deserve, but this little picture that could is one not to be missed. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a fantastical tale that draws the spectator immediately into the picture and does not let up. The biggest star of the picture is a little unknown actress, Quvenzhane Wallis who portrays Hushpuppy, a precocious little six-year old girl that ignites the screen on fire.
Hushpuppy’s journey throughout the picture is awesome to watch, particularly because children at such a young age are ambivalent to things happening in the world. They are aware of the things happening around them, but they are not always able to rationalize life the way teens or young adults can. Hushpuppy resides in a bayou in Louisiana also known as the “Bathtub,” a region cut off from the rest of the world thanks to a levee.
The citizens of the region have a tight-knit community where everyone works together and looks out for each other. Hushpuppy is in the care of her father Wink (Dwight Henry). He’s a no-nonsense guy, who gives really tough love to his daughter. The father and daughter duo, don’t even stay in the same home, and when the daughter and father have disagreements Hushpuppy does the best to get her father’s attention.
The drama immerses a bit of fantasy into the picture that is a great element for all ages to witness. The biggest plot point of the picture involves an impending storm heading to the community which has the residents fleeing for cover and picking up the pieces after the aftermath. There is a bit of foreshadowing in the picture where the audience realizes that Wink and his daughter will be torn apart after he becomes gravely ill.
Hushpuppy overhears the news and endures on a journey to locate the mother that she never knew. It’s a touching tale; a little girl with so much willpower, she’s not willing to give up no matter the odds against her. The picture is directed by Benh Zeitlin who delivers some stunning visuals to the movie that are breathtaking. Watching the picture easily places the audience in the characters shoes and it’s a journey worth taking from start to finish. Wallis at such a young age is the driving force of the picture and is amazing in a breakout role that so many other child actors vied for. There are a lot of names being thrown around for awards season and one that should be on many radar lists is Wallis as a lead actress contender.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” is an adventurous, heartfelt tale that is worth checking out. While seeing it on the big screen is a treat, the power of the picture on the small screen is just as effective. One of the best pictures of the year without a doubt.
By LaDale Anderson