Beasts of the Southern Wild had been on my queue for the past few months and I was finally able to watch it right before the Oscars premiered. I did not know much about the film; all I knew was that it was getting great reviews, took place in a fictional bayou territory by New Orleans and starred newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis as a girl named Hushpuppy. This alone had me hooked and excited as I sat down to watch the film. However, I was a little disappointed by the time the credits rolled.
Directed By: Benh Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry
Written By: Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar (adapted from Juicy and Delicious)
Music By: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin
“Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. –IMDB
- Quvenzhané Wallis: Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for the part of Hushpuppy. Before watching this movie, I had a small grudge against Wallis because I thought that if any child actor should get nominated for an Oscar it should have been Tom Holland from The Impossible. After watching Beasts of the Southern Wild, I understood all of the praise that Wallis was receiving. She was truly incredible. The entire movie rested on relationship and emotion between her and her father. The two of them had great chemistry and it felt unbelievable real. **Note** My favorite scenes involved anytime Hushpuppy carefully listened to the heartbeat of her father and other animals.
- Dwight Henry: As I mentioned above, the movie rested on the relationship between Hushpuppy and her father, Wink. Dwight Henry plays Wink and like Wallis, he had no prior acting experience. In fact, Henry ran a local bakery where the casting agency for Beasts of the Southern Wild would often have breakfast and lunch. The casting agency had him read for the part and he was chosen. It turned out to be a great choice because the movie would not have worked without him or Quvenzhané Wallis.
- Nothing Special: I had a hard time buying into the plot. Beasts of the Southern Wild gives you a great look at the life inside of the ‘bathtub’, but I am not sure what the point of it all meant. Maybe I am just being naïve because I could not get myself to connect with the story, but it just did not work for me.
Beasts of the Southern Wild was a good film, not a great one. I think that critics have overblown the film and made it out to be something that it is not. It makes for a good watch, but should not have been nominated for Best Picture. However, it was a great start for Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry and first-time director Benh Zeitlin and I hope to see more from all of them in the future.