Opening in theatres this Friday from director Benh Zeitlin and Court 13 Pictures comes a look inside the mind of a child who sees BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD.
This film tells the story of Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis), a six-year-old girl living with her father Wink (Dwight Henry) in a place in the Southern Delta they call The Bathtub.
Wink is ill and tries to prepare Hushpuppy with tough love and the ability to take care of herself. But in Hush Puppy’s world things are now out of whack as a prehistoric beast known as aurochs have been released from the polar ice caps. The storm comes for The Bathtub and everyone in it.
With everyone so out of sorts for Hushpuppy, she goes in search of her long lost mother to help set things right. In a moment her life comes into focus as she takes on everything that lay in front of her, even the aurochs.
FINAL WORD: Wallis is an amazing child! This is her first role and she definitely is a force to be reckoned with. There are such harsh and sad themes in this film for a child her age to even grasp let alone be able to portray is stellar. I have met this young girl and she is funny, smart and tough – everything her character needed to be. Watching her melt her fantasy life in with reality is something only a child can do the way Wallis does as she makes it all “fit just right”.
Henry as her father Wink is equally riveting to watch as he hides everything from Hushpuppy. As a father doing the best he can, Henry shows moments of heart that are heartbreaking. This first time actor is actually the owner of a bakery in New Orleans who believes that director Zeitlin must have “seen something in me that I didn’t see in myself” to be asked to do this role. Also having been in the same room with the gentleman he is funny, loved to talk about his home in the south and enjoyed playing the role.
Director Zeitlin captures such beauty in an ugly place. The emotions are taken to the rawest place for the viewer watching Hushpuppy living her life. It is not easy to watch a child go through such hardships without wanting to reach out, grab her and take her away from it all. By the films end it is a question of who needs saving – her or the viewer.
Other cast include: Levy Easterly as Jean Battiste, Lowell Landes as Walrus, Pamela Harper as Little Jo, Gina Montana as Miss Bathsheeba, Amber Henry as LZA, Jonshel Alexander as Joy Strong, Joseph Brown as Winston, Henry D. Coleman as Peter T, Kaliana Brower as T-Lou, Philip Lawrence as Dr. Maloney and Jimmy Lee Moore as Sgt. Major.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD four tubs of popcorn out of five. This truly is an amazing piece of filmmaking. It is nice to have a film surprise you with all it has to offer. From an amazing young lady to a savvy baker-man along with a quirky cast, it seems all of them fit just right into there roles giving us a wonderful film that deserves so much recognition.
The director also proved that good filmmaking can be done without spending millions of dollars. I’m sure director Zeitlin wouldn’t mind a few more bucks for his next project and I hope he gets it. The simplicity of this film is wonderful and allows the viewer to become part of the emotional story on the screen.
In the end – so many things can happen in The Bathtub.