A six-year-old girl must contend with her dying,
hotheaded father and her slowly sinking bayou community.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry,
Levy Easterly, Gina Montana
Based on the stage play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
I've spoken in the past about movies that are promoted heavily for the Oscars, but fall out of the limelight as soon as awards season is over. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of these films, though this time it's for good reason. This film is self-indulgent as hell and incredibly boring. Despite Quvenzhané Wallis's solid performance (for a child, which is even more impressive), this film has nothing going for it. I didn't know what was going on half the time, and the unprompted inclusion of fantasy elements only added to my increasing confusion.
Wallis is Hushpuppy, an imaginative little girl who lives with her abusive father (Henry), who has a heart condition that's slowly killing him. Hushpuppy imagines how the world around her will be when her dad is gone, and spends most of the film just sort of doing what children do. Only she lives in a ramshackle bayou camp with a bunch of crazy people. The film tries to convince you that being homeless makes you free to finally understand the world, which I don't think is a fair take. Apart from one brief emotional moment at the end between Hushpuppy and her dad, nothing else of note happens. Thank God it was only an hour and a half.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is unworthy of a Best Picture nomination, and probably every other nomination it got apart from Best Actress. 2012 may not have had the best to choose from, and it's debatable whether Argo deserved the win, but this film should not have been in the running. It's forgettable, it's confusing, and its message is unclear. I'm pretty sure it was something about global warming being bad, which isn't exactly a hot take.