Beasts Of The Southern Wild

July 13, 2012 at 8:48 am | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment

 ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ½

A winner at both Sundance and Cannes, it is easy to see why this film has been so praised.  It is a wild, allegorical, powerhouse of a movie that wades gently into the waters of magical realism without drowning in them.  Taking place sometime around the present, the story inhabits the almost mythical world of a tiny bayou community called “Bathtub” made up of America’s oddballs and outcasts living in stilt houses that look like they might belong on a Terry Gilliam set.  It did not surprise me to discover the film is based on Lucy Alibar’s play, “Juicy and Delicious,” as its central themes are common ones to American playwrights:  survival in the face of the failure of The American Dream and the way in which we find and create our own forms of family.  The film is anchored by the startling performance of Quvenzané Wallis, just five years old at the time, who burns up the screen with her intensity, unflinching focus and sheer force of personality.  This young girl is the movie.  She is in virtually every single seen and the camera lingers on her face; it’s an unforgettable performance and makes the film.  The less you know about the plot, the better.  Suffice it to say it involves a bomb, a storm (possibly Katrina), a dying father, some giant aurochs and lots of seafood.  I could not recommend this movie more.

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