Cannes 2012 Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Sometimes we need a bit of fantasy for reality to beat us on the head. Beasts of the Southern Wild revisits the whole ‘if the ship sinks, the captain goes with it’ philosophy, where a troop of lonely outcasts ferociously fight against modern civilization. Now that’s something to talk about! Who’s right and who’s wrong? Benh Zeitlin makes you reconsider what survival of the fittest is all about.
I’m only here to watch the 6 year old superstar Quvenzhané Wallis in action. She plays a girl named Hushpuppy that lives with her dad Wink (Dwight Henry) in a place called The Bathtub. She describes the dry people as ‘pussies’ for being afraid of the water, believes she has the better life because holidays don’t only come once a year and get plugged into a wall. As the film progresses, it gets harder for Hushpuppy to avoid the fact that her father is dying and does whatever she can to fight her tears.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is predominately about loss and how to deal with it. You can feel Hushpuppy’s pain every step of the way, but she also carries an incredible strength that can’t be missed on screen. This girl knows when she nails it! There’s an immensely badass scene where she purposefully burns her cooking that will literally make you stand up and clap (yes, in the middle of the damn movie). There’s also a great scene on ‘beasting’ a crab, because animals don’t use cutlery. As Hushpuppy says, ‘Strong animals got no mercy. They be the type of animal that eat their own mammas and babies.’
Overall, I’m not sure how to describe the film. It’s weird. It’s backwards. It’s different. It’s out-of-the-box film-making and you really can’t say anything nasty about it without getting a mouthful of retorting arguments so I’ll just stop right here and say ‘watch it for yourself.’ Enough said.