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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.

Director:

Benh Zeitlin

Writers:

Lucy Alibar (screenplay), Benh Zeitlin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 93 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

Gross USA:

$12,795,746

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,107,746
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

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 »

Goofs

When Hushpuppy's dad poured drinks for him and Hushpuppy, he placed the plastic container cup in front of him and a cup with handle for Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy is seen drinking from the cup with handle, but the next shot her dad is drinking from Hushpuppy's cup, and then the next shot is the plastic container cup, then the one with handle again. 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 Great MoVie Mistakes (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

 
"When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces."
28 July 2012 | by Loving_SilenceSee 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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