Maybe it’s because fantasy is one of my favorite genres (aside from sci-fi and comedy) that I enjoyed this movie so much, not to mention the fact that I tend to enjoy most indie/limited release films in general.
I thought Beasts of the Southern Wild presents its story like a well-written book. The narration gave me the feeling as if I were living in one of those time periods and/or cultures where most stories were told by word of mouth. It also reminded me of my experience as a child attending one of those children’s theater performances, where stage actors brought mythical stories to life.
Before I share my thoughts, I just want to say that while this isn’t meant to be one of my spoiler-filled entries, I will mention maybe one or two things that may be considered spoilers by some. So if you don’t want to know anything about the movie at all, you might want to skip the rest of the entry and just scroll down to my overall rating if that’s all you’re looking for.
It took me a little while to get oriented at the start of the film, because although I had heard a lot of great things about it, I never actually looked into what the plot was, so I was a little lost at first. However, I think the film does a great job with plugging you into the story, and any new vocabulary that comes up weaves in naturally and does not have you distracted because you’re itching to reach for that invisible glossary of terms.
It’s not often that I tear up in a movie that isn’t based on a true story or at the very least a realistic backdrop, like a sports movie or something. This movie was one of those exceptions to the rule for me. I thought the relationship between the character Hushpuppy and her father to be very endearing. In their own way, they really seemed to care about each other, but both characters seemed to have difficulties expressing that love in a kind way. There was a lot of “will they, won’t they” moments where I felt constantly on the edge of my seat hoping Hushpuppy’s father would just sweep her up into a hug, like any doting father would. So I found it particularly moving when her father beckons her over to sleep beside him after they’ve had yet another fight.
What I found most interesting was that both Hushpuppy and her father seemed to possess some kind of supernatural powers. I almost want to say they were like yin and yang; her father possessing the powers to bring life while Hushpuppy had the ability to bring death. Of course, I could be wrong in my observations, but that’s what I gathered based on a few events that occurred early on in the story.
FINAL VERDICT: A-
I’m not sure if I would call this one a classic, but I do think this movie has a high replay value. I’d definitely watch it again, and I even find this one worthy of placing on my DVD shelf.