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.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
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
More than half of the cast hails from Louisiana bayou country, including the film's star Quvenzhané Wallis, and five others in speaking roles. See more »
When Hushpuppy places the Michael Jordan jersey on her sleeping father the shot is reversed - the number 23 is backwards. See more »
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]
But sometimes they be talkin' in codes.
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Greetings again from the darkness. So many movies take advantage of our expectations and have a basis of familiarity in everything from community to setting to character personality and reactions. Every so often a movie comes along that reminds us there really is no such thing as "typical". People and communities are all different. Some are more different than others, but none I have witnessed come close to the Bathtub ... a self-contained world on the "wrong" side of the levee.
This small community of folks are clearly poverty stricken by societal standards, but their ability to live off the land and support each other is a world that will fascinate, frighten and inspire you. Wink is not the warm-hearted single dad we are often spoon-fed by Hollywood. Instead he is a fierce protector and teacher of survival techniques to his equally fierce daughter Hushpuppy. She is a force of nature and displays a near-feral intensity that will leave you speechless.
There is no need for much detail here as this film is best experienced with little upfront knowledge. First time director Benh Zeitlin lives in New Orleans and co-wrote the screenplay with Lucy Alibar, whose one-act play the story is based. They wisely chose two non-professional actors as their leads, and both are stunning. Dwight Henry is a local pastry baker and family man, but you will struggle to believe that as you watch him fight the elements, time and a serious disease.
As terrific as Mr. Henry is, the one who left me breathless was Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy. She is a six year old girl and hits the screen like no one you have ever seen. She is in-tune with the animals, nature and this wilderness life she is leading. Despite her internal strength, we are periodically reminded of the imagination and life-through-the-eyes of a 6 year old. A prime example is when she accidentally starts a fire, she immediately hides in a cardboard box assuming she is safe if she can't see the flames. Just as quickly, Hushpuppy proves just how unusual she is as she stakes her claim in being remembered in the Bathtub long after she is gone.
If you are a fan of independent filmmaking or take particular pleasure in unusual stories and characters, this is definitely one to see. The rave reviews from Sundance carry through to your local cineplex.
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