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Beasts of the Southern Wild (Blu-ray Review)

24 Nov, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 12/4/12
Box Office $11.25 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language and brief sensuality.
Stars Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry.

Deep within the bayous of Louisiana is a place like none other called The Bathtub. The dilapidated village is home to a community of residents who, although they don’t have much, have what’s most important. That’s love and compassion for their fellow man. Navigating life in this murky environment is 6-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), a remarkably resilient, observant girl.

The only family she has is her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), a man with a short fuse, whose health is slowly deteriorating. In preparation for the inevitable, Wink is teaching Hushpuppy how to be strong (“no crying” is the only house rule) and fend for herself when the day comes that she doesn’t have a choice.

Then one day a storm comes, flooding The Bathtub and unleashing the mythical aurochs, a destructive breed of beasts that threaten to ruin what’s left of the community. Amid these trials Hushpuppy emerges a hero.

The matter-of-fact yet poetic voiceovers from the girl drive the fable of Beasts of the Southern Wild, letting viewers inside the mind of the little force field that is Hushpuppy. Wallis is magnetic as the strong-willed youngster with a warrior’s spirit.

There’s something tender and authentic about the relationship between Hushpuppy and Wink, which is a testament to natural instincts from first-time actors Wallis and Henry. I’ve never seen a film quite like Beasts. It’s one of those films that I think people will grow to embrace and appreciate as time wears on.

The making-of featurette provides a wealth of insight into how the low-budget project came together, from the special effects tricks to the grassroots casting effort. With brilliant, untrained talent like Wallis and Henry, and a small army of co-stars, it must be in the Louisiana water.

About the Author: Ashley Ratcliff

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