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Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3,932 ( 448)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 92 wins & 123 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lowell Landes ...
Pamela Harper ...
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Amber Henry ...
LZA
Jonshel Alexander ...
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Joseph Brown ...
Henry D. Coleman ...
Peter T
Kaliana Brower ...
T-Lou
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Dr. Maloney
Hannah Holby ...
Open Arms Babysitter
Jimmy Lee Moore ...
Sgt. Major
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Storyline

Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink's tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Discover the most MAGICAL film of the year See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

5 July 2012 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Bestias del sur salvaje  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$169,702 (USA) (29 June 2012)

Gross:

$12,784,397 (USA) (15 March 2013)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was sold to Fox Searchlight Pictures for about $2 million. See more »

Goofs

Hushpuppy's father, Wink, is removed from "The Bathtub" and taken to a medical clinic after the storm. While at the clinic, he is obviously sick, and told he must undergo medical treatment to live. Wink refuses the treatment, and is physically restrained by the staff. Later, he is administered painkillers or sedatives to calm him down, which he rejects. In the United States, where this film takes place, an adult citizen has the right to refuse medical treatment. No American doctor or nurse in his or her right mind would ever physically restrain a patient after being informed the patient has declined medical attention. Wink has every right to decline treatment and walk out of the clinic. He also has every right to sue the medical staff for 10 million dollars for the medical treatment he has refused, not to mention assault, and he would almost certainly win that case. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hushpuppy: All the time, everywhere, everything's hearts are beating and squirting, and talking to each other the ways I can't understand. Most of the time they probably be saying: I'm hungry, or I gotta poop.
[listening to bird's heartbeat]
Hushpuppy: But sometimes they be talkin' in codes.
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Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Jennifer Lawrence/The Lumineers (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Henry
Performed by The Lost Bayou Ramblers (as Lost Bayou Ramblers)
Written by Louis Michot, OTUT Publishing (BMI)
Courtesy of Bayou Perdu Records
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User Reviews

 
"When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces."
28 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What can I say about Beasts of the Southern Wild, that hasn't already been said. It's the most magical and imaginative film of the year, so far. In Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, the wild things are in a place known as the Bathtub, a remote stretch of the Louisiana bayou profoundly cut off from the rest of modern civilization. Beasts of Southern Wild is an unique vision that sweeps viewers away with energy, attitude and a full, vibrant, sense of life. Containing outstanding performances, great cinematography, and a fantastic score, the film is just so engrossing.

Hushpuppy feels her connection not only to nature and animals, but also to the prehistoric era, represented throughout the film by her interest in cave drawings and—more fancifully—prehistoric beasts called aurochs that have been released from the ice caps and make their way toward the Bathtub…at least in Hushpuppy's mind. The difference between what's real and what lives in the imagination of our six-year-old heroine is not always clear, but it's all delivered with a beautifully assured sense of wonder.

Beasts of the Southern Wild unfolds through Hushpuppy's eyes, and it's a sight to behold: sometimes wondrous, often disordered and dysfunctional. It's hard not to see the film through a political lens even if you're apolitical. But there's no stridency here: Fantastical moments and a fantastic script manage to juggle so much with grace. As Hushpuppy says, "The entire world depends on everything fitting together just right." But her world is one where wealth and squalor co-exist all too easily, the discrepancy painfully obvious (even though we don't really see the other world), the puzzle pieces not equal in weight or importance. Yet the hardscrabble people of Bathtub still find a way to channel their joy, even though they've been forgotten.

It's all the more impressive that such a confident and resourceful film comes from a first-timer; writer-director Benh Zeitlin previously impressed Sundance audiences with the Hurricane Katrina inspired short "Glory at Sea." He collaborated on the screenplay for "Beasts" with Lucy Alibar and worked with a cast and crew of mostly non-professionals (both Wallis and Henry make genuinely astonishing screen debuts). That freshness may very well be key to the film's creative success. There's a feeling of genuine enthusiasm and ingenuity in their work here, as if everyone involved was truly discovering the power and potential of filmmaking for the first time.


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