7.3/10
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280 user 635 critic

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.

Director:

Benh Zeitlin

Writers:

Lucy Alibar (screenplay), Benh Zeitlin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 92 wins & 123 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Quvenzhané Wallis ... Hushpuppy
Dwight Henry ... Wink
Levy Easterly ... Jean Battiste
Lowell Landes Lowell Landes ... Walrus
Pamela Harper Pamela Harper ... Little Jo
Gina Montana ... Miss Bathsheba
Amber Henry Amber Henry ... LZA
Jonshel Alexander Jonshel Alexander ... Joy Strong
Nicholas Clark Nicholas Clark ... Boy with Bell
Joseph Brown Joseph Brown ... Winston
Henry D. Coleman Henry D. Coleman ... Peter T
Kaliana Brower Kaliana Brower ... T-Lou
Philip Lawrence ... Dr. Maloney
Hannah Holby Hannah Holby ... Open Arms Babysitter
Jimmy Lee Moore 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 July 2012 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Bestias del sur salvaje See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$169,702, 1 July 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,795,746

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,080,058
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, in its Sundance workshop phase , there was no formal script for "Beasts," and co-writers Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar shared "a moment of panic" when they quickly had to combine two separate ideas for the film into one that would work. In the process, they abandoned the idea that the story would be some type of "fable comedy." 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Rock Center with Brian Williams: Episode #1.58 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Jole Blon
Performed by Harry Choates
Written by Buddy Dee
Courtesy of D Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What it lacks in story structure it makes up for in mise-en scene--great stuff!
11 January 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

An engrossing, vigorous, fanciful, primal movie set in Southern Louisiana in time of flood and strife. It's about the power of people to survive. It's a celebration of animal behavior. It's about community and loneliness. There are echoes of ourselves in all these people in their craziness or compassion, or their uneducated wisdom (or lack of wisdom which then depends on luck and instinct).

In short it's quite a ride, and the leading character is a little girl who now is up for an Academy Award nomination for best actress, with the only question about that being the weirdly simple and true question--how much is she acting, how much is she just being herself with amazing transparency on the camera? Well, the same could be said of lots of adult actors who are really just themselves over and over, and so you really can watch "Beasts" for the stellar and heartwarming effort by Quvenzhané Wallis.

There are other performances startling for their gritty (or downright filthy) realism, including the girl's father. But these start to intermix and blend into a larger effort involving the elements of wind and rain and flood, unbridled partying, moments of tender caring including some folk wisdom by the teacher and healer of the group, and so on in an up and down, topsy turvy mix.

You can love this movie just for its insider look at a culture that you hardly knew possible in the United States any more, or even in any third world country for its primitivism. It is in fact rather based on truth though ramped up and made sensational and into a kind of fairy tale. There are (in reality) some islands that have communities struggling on the fringes along the complex coastline of Louisiana, and some of them have almost no development, and correspondingly little education and health care. The film was shot on an actual island like this, though it given a fictional name (nicknamed the Bathtub by the characters).

You can also love this movie for its metaphors. If there is misunderstanding and cruelty between father and daughter, there is also a base instinct to stick together and survive. If there is a sense of independence there is also a dependency on neighbors and outsiders. If the world seems out of whack and insane you still find ways to make part of it reasonable, by either makeshift construction or by changing your outlook. And there are those giant boar animals menacing the main character in some kind of dream. This is really about survival in ways that go beyond physical comfort and food.

There is a problem, especially for people who appreciate more sophisticated movies for their plots and their filmmaking savvy, with the generally meandering narrative. The movie is not without ups and downs and an evolving sense of drama. But it depends more on its scene and its characterizations than on what happens with them. Things happen but they don't particularly develop, in the usual sense. You'll be spellbound and maybe even frightened (or according to some reviews, disgusted) by many of the scenes, but you might also start to wonder what it's all leading to. That's the narrative instinct in all of us for a development toward some kind of climax or turning point, and it's not compelling.

So just be immersed. Admire the fact these are amateurs and independents. Click back a few expectations and be surprised by some of the content for its immediacy. Unique and riveting.


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