PG-13, 93 min.
Director: Behn Zeitlin
Writers: Lucy Alibar (also stage play “Juicy and Delicious”), Behn Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landis, Pamela Harper, Gina Montana, Jovan Hathaway
I haven’t heard much comparison of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” with the events affecting the 9th Ward of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina, but the film seems to be a fantastical analogy to the people of that hard hit area. Now, I haven’t really read any reviews of the movie, in order to keep my own opinion of it fresh. For all I know, everybody has written about this obvious parallel. I can’t imagine I’m the first or even the 101st.
The events depicted in the film are seen through the eyes of a six-year-old little girl named Hushpuppy. But, we don’t merely witness the events from her point of view; we see them as she does. Everything is approached from the understanding of a six-year-old. The actions of adults make little sense. There are these giant boar beasts that float up from the South Pole to ravage the land. The little girl talks to her mother in the form of a basketball jersey that we can only assume belonged to her mother before she disappeared. Her father disappears for a little while and returns wearing a hospital gown and bracelet. She has no understanding of what these garments mean.
Hushpuppy is a citizen of a very poor community. They live on an island called The Bathtub near a levy and ocean oil drilling platforms in an otherwise unnamed area that looks an awful lot like the Mississippi River Delta. Beyond the levy is where the “normal” people live with their “grocery stores.” The people of the Bathtub live their lives like kings despite their squalor, and kids will be kids however they live.