Monday, January 21, 2013

Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)

Year: 2012
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Cast: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly

Before I begin my review….

On the eve of the 85th Academy Awards nominations announcement (when being in Australia I stayed up until 12:30am to find them out), a friend of mine asked if I had any predictions for the nominations.

My prediction was that some nominations are pretty predictable and don’t vary too much from the Golden Globe nominations, but there is usually one film that people consider a surprise because it didn’t really have a representation in the Golden Globes. Beasts Of The Southern Wild is that film for 2012/13.

In all honestly, I can’t say I was particularly surprised that Beasts Of The Southern Wild, director Benh Zeitlin and it’s gorgeous lead star, Quvenzhane Wallis have been nominated. With the bucket load of awards it has won at film festivals and the buzz it created, there was plenty of talk floating around on the net that this film could well be an Oscar contender.

The Golden Globe nominations were released and there was no sign of Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Now this isn’t the first time the Globes’ have ignored a film which made an impact on the nominations at the Oscars. There are many examples, but let’s look at more recent example in the Coen brothers, True Grit. The film got nominated for no Golden Globes at all, yet got nominated for a massive 10 Academy Awards including Motion Picture of The Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Performance by an Actor In A Leading Role and Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role. Again, I wouldn’t call it a surprise in my eyes when the Academy Award nominations were released as True Grit is a fantastic film and one of my all-time favourites.

Anyway, so my verdict about this movie as far as actually winning the awards goes. Well, I can’t actually see it winning any of the four awards it is up for. Not because this isn’t a very good film, but it is a tough competition at the top.

Quvenzhane Wallis may have the biggest chance of winning and, at her nine years of age, she will go down in history as being the youngest person ever to win a competitive Oscar if she does. It is truly amazing for someone as young as her to almost carry the whole movie herself and give such an amazing performance at such a young age.

Is there any chance of the academy bring back the Juvenile Award which Judy Garland won back in 1940?

It was worth a try anyway…..


Beasts Of The Southern Wild has a rare type of beauty not often seen in films.

Told through the eyes of a beautiful, young and innocent soul, Beasts Of The Southern Wild combines harsh realities of life with fantasy and makes you start to see the true beauty in life that we sometimes miss. There is nothing better than seeing movie that just happens to be one of those things of true beauty.

Six year old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) lives in a bayou on the edge of the world with her hot-headed father, Wink (Dwight Henry). When he father disappears and then returns with an illness, the world starts to crumble around her with storms raging and icecaps melting, which releases the mystical aurochs. In order to survive, Hushpuppy learns about how life is not always kind, but that in order to survive you need courage and love for those around you.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild is such an original film and has you entranced from the first few minutes when you see that beautiful scene of Hushpuppy with her sparklers. A completely fitting opening to the film by showing the youth and innocence of Hushpuppy running around with her sparklers without a care in the world.  This is just the beginning of some extraordinary cinematography in the film.

Another great thing about this film is that it is party fantasy, but very rarely does it seem like that. There is a magical quality to it, but nothing is done in an exaggerated fashion to suggest that it is unlike real life. Of course there is the aurochs, but they don’t seem entirely out of place in the surroundings.

The score is also beautiful and adds to the overall beauty of the film. The southern wild is visually very interesting to watch. The bayou in which Hushpuppy lives in, Bathtub is full of quirkiness. Her household is like a mini museum.

It is incredible how well Quvenzhane Wallis carries the film. Her age is not an issue when it comes to being the lead and being in almost every scene. The way her character develops throughout the film is incredible. She starts off as being a little girl, but when her father leaves, she steps into the shoes of being the head of her “house”. How much her character develops is completely evident in the scene when they have taken her into the hospital. She stands there in a little girl’s pink dress, but through your eyes, you are seeing a grown woman in little girl’s clothes not able to communicate with the other children as she far too advanced for them.

It is a wonderful film debut by Wallis and she has a very bright future ahead of her.

By the end of Beasts Of The Southern Wild, you are feeling full of love and you know that if a little girl can be so courageous, we all have the same strength inside us.

A thing of true beauty.


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