Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild


At times Beasts of the Southern Wild feels more like a visual poem than a film. It’s recited through the eyes of its young hero, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis), a girl of about 8  whose father insists on living the most back-to-basics existence, providing an inexplicably apocalyptic world for himself and his daughter on the American Gulf Coast. It spirals along through a journey exploring our roots with an idealised past, life, love and death, survival and monsters, each theme rhyming with the last.

Its apocalyptic backdrop for the father/daughter relationship reminded me a lot of The Road, which provided equally stunning photography, even if Beasts has a little bit more air to let you breathe. Everything in this film has a texture, from the fishing, to the flood water, to the painfully temperamental love Wink shows his daughter – it can all be felt and it all feels immersive. Wallis shows remarkable tenderness and dexterity in her role, being taught strength by a father who is not sure how much longer he will be around to look after her. Just like the film, she’s a little beauty and Hushpuppy becomes one of the mythical creatures she dreams about.

Review by David Rank

RATING: 4/5

Beasts of the Southern Wild is out now in the UK. Certificate 12A (UK). Running time 93 mins.

Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.

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