Beasts of the Southern Wild: A Movie Review

Movie directed by Benh Zeitlin

In one hour and 31 minutes, this movie transported me to a world that was poetry; alive, tender and disturbing at the same time. Quvenzhane Wallis is Hushpuppy, an 8 year old girl who has grown up in the “Bathtub,” an isolated part of the Mississippi Delta with her father, played by Dwight Henry. Hurricane Katrina, known as “The Storm,” is bearing down on their small community.

The adults toss down drinks as the storm roars towards them. Hushpuppy’s teacher tells the class about the times when huge Aurochs lived on their land and, as the storm magnifies, the Aurochs return.
Hushpuppy herself is a force of nature. Her father, still powerful but dying, tries to sternly guide her, but Hushpuppy is the storm personified.

The waters rise all about them and they float down the river in a house with a roof covered with lethal spikes. There are scenes of Arctic ice falling into the waters as they rise.

Suddenly the outside world intervenes and evacuates the “Bathtub people” against their will. They are thrust into a world they never saw before, the world we live in and it is more of a nightmare to escape from than the roaring wild the people come from.

Hushpuppy and her father duel on many levels as the storm rips apart their world. But Hushpuppy is the storm itself and she roars like a lion as the Aurochs close in on her and the band of children she runs with.
When I left this movie the world around me seemed unreal; it was as if I was stoned as my wife and I drove down the street, dark clouds moving above us. The movie was more real than reality. We all live in the “Bathtub”. Not to be missed.

-Marc D. Goldfinger

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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