Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.


“Beasts of the Southern Wild” is at its most painfully moving in its scenes between father and daughter. Those of Wallis and Henry are the finest in a collection of forceful naturalistic performances from a non- professional cast. The film is less successful when depicting the “magic” part of its magical realism. The CGI beasts seem tacked on, and too obvious a metaphor to bulldoze us into a sentimental finale.

The locals, lively yet deeply fatalistic, know that The Bathtub is likely to be flooded. Many decide to leave, but a select few stay. They’re the ones Wink has respect for. After the rain has fallen, after the wind has stopped blowing, after the lightning and thunder has ceased and the clouds have parted, The Bathtub has indeed flooded. But, let’s stop for a second.

This film has remained in my Top 3 of the year, because it doesn’t flinch from the brutal realization that life is hard. Too often, kid protagonists are treated with a light touch and shown a world where nothing can go wrong. It’s nice to see a story about how close Hushpuppy dances to death. The world around her is finite and slipping into the natural abyss. If the water climb ever higher, everything she knows is gone. Life is holding on by a bare thread and it’s not cool.

The DVD comes with a featurette and trailer. The Dolby 5.1 track is expansive for such a low-budget movie. However, I found that the standard definition transfer left a lot to be desired in terms of digital noise. It’s not bad, but I was checking out this film via early screener. Hopefully, the final product looks a little cleaner. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 12/04/2012

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