This is a review of a 2012 film which was critically acclaimed at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Benh Zeitlin who co-wrote it with Lucy Alibar, the story is an adaptation of Alibar's play Juicy and Delicious. Nothing will be revealed here that wouldn't be revealed in any other film review. Whether you miss New Orleans or have ever enjoyed a Dixie beer then just go watch this film now before you find out anything else about it. Rated PG-13, 93 minutes long.
Imagine a world where sea levels gradually rise higher and higher. A world in which an entire region was deemed unfit for human habitation. A world in which a giant levee protects North America from the melting ice caps—a levee with no release valve to drain the area below sea level.
Naturally, there would be some who would choose to remain in the place they called home for generations. Those thus entrenched would disregard their status as American citizens in order to retain a greater sense of freedom. And with that freedom comes the responsibility to take care of themselves and each other as a community.
Such is the wildly indeterminate future in which six year old Hushpuppy finds herself. Due to the absence of her mother, Hushpuppy is dependent upon her slightly crazed alcoholic father named Wink and their small community. The community is in an area aptly referred to as the Bathtub. Life in the Bathtub is mostly worry-free, so long as there are no storms a'knockin.
Because the story is told from the perspective of young Hushpuppy, there is much that is untold as to how the Bathtub came to be the Bathtub. That Hushpuppy is in the first generation born in the Bathtub seems clear. Equally clear is the fierce resolve of the residents of the Bathtub to survive against all odds. The local shaman/teacher tells the children of wild beasts known as aurochs which once roamed the land in prehistoric times. There is a prophecy that these beasts may one day return . . .
Shot just outside of New Orleans and using many actors local to the Crescent City, Beasts of the Southern Wild portrays the distinct flavor of life in the bayou right down to the accent. The cinematography is gorgeous and the soundtrack pitch perfect.
Beasts is an enjoyable film that will move even the most hardened heart. The complex story will require careful viewing and some time for it all to sink in.