Friday, 25 January 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild, 2012
Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Nominated for 4 Oscars

Going into this movie a week ago, I really had no idea what to expect since every summary I kept reading was extremely vague, and I couldn't understand why they couldn't be more descriptive. After watching the movie, I understood. If someone asked me what Beasts of the Southern Wild was about, the only reply I could really give is "A girl named Hushpuppy lives with her dad in The Bathtub, and are dealing with the polar ice caps melting". And most people would deem this as extremely unhelpful. Which it kind of is. But it is really what the movie is about.

Hushpuppy is 6 years old. She lives in a community called the Bathtub, a community which she loves. They have more holidays, more parties and are much friendlier. It's a community unlike any of us have ever lived in, nor could imagine living in. Her father, an angry man is dealing with health issues, and Hushpuppy is starting to wonder what is wrong with him. She lost her mother along time ago, and even though her father is harsh, she doesn't want to lose him either. As the polar ice caps are melting, and a storm comes brewing, the Bathtub floods, due to a levy the neighboring city has built to keep the water out, which means the Bathtub is constantly"filling up". While many people fled the Bathtub community before the storm hit, many stuck it out and are now dealing with the consequences of living in a flooded community.

I watched this movie with my parents, my sister and my sister's boyfriend. Watching movies with them is never a good idea. They talk and talk and poke fun and make comments and it's distracting when trying to watch a movie you honestly want to get a hold of and understand. And when the people around you aren't so keen on a movie and are verbal about it, it sways your opinion a little bit.

To sum it up, this movie was extremely odd. In this years awards race, I had this film and Moonrise Kingdom on a similar plain- they're both indie movies, with their main characters being children. While Moonrise Kingdom was quirky and funny, this movie was just different and odd. Intertwined with the story of Hushpuppy and her father is the aurochs, an extinct creature from the ice age. But when the ice caps melt, the aurochs are released from cryogenic sleep and are on the loose again, heading straight for the Bathtub. I think I would've enjoyed the film a lot more had the storyline of the aurochs not been included. It was strange and unnecessary and gave a slightly confusing end to the film (and also slightly anti-climatic, though it was supposed to be more symbolic than anything. Whatever).

But Quvenzhane Wallis was fantastic. She truly was. She was funny, and heartbreaking, and just so so good.  Its pretty unbelievable that she was only 5 when she filmed this. She was utterly believable, and so powerful. If I liked anything about this film, it was her performance.

Other than Wallis's performance, I was overall not too enthralled with the film. It was interesting, but the aurochs storyline made it pretty unrealistic, and distracted from the overall story. The score was also really good, and thought it was super cool that Zeitlin, the director, was the co-composer! I've never really seen that before and thought that was really neat. But overall, the film was just okay for me, with Wallis being the total standout of the film. I really hope she's able to build a fantastic career as she's already very talented (and next up she's starring with Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in Twelve Years a Slave. Nice move up in the world!). While it was an alright film, I'd have still rather seen Affleck up for director rather than Zeitlin, and Moonrise Kingdom up for picture over this, but that's just my opinion it seems!


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