Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an ambitious film about a young girl in a remote delta community outside of New Orleans just before Katrina. It blends reality and fantasy in an attempt to show this girl’s personal story as a part of the larger universe around us. Along the way it over-glorifies the “simple life” of the people in The Bathtub and vilifies those who try to rescue them later in the story. An interesting yet almost pompous political statement.
Anyway, this is really the story of Hushpuppy, the little girl, and she is certainly a strong enough character to center this movie around. She is looking for her place in the universe and relates to this search through stories and fables, most notably of a mythical beast called the Aurochs.
I love the way the Aurochs were film. They were shot with just the right amount of mystery and revelation at just the right times. They provide a strong sense of momentum in the story and also just look really great. However, when they finally reach their confrontation with Hushpuppy, I couldn’t help but feel let down, like the entire concept was all for naught.
Beasts looks great at times and uber-grungy at others. And even though I liked the girl as the main character, I never got completely pulled into her story. Maybe I was expecting more of a journey or maybe her personal journey wasn’t quite as realized as I hoped it would be. Either way, I appreciated it but was never fully pulled in by its charm.