BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
I’ll be honest, it took some convincing to get me to see Beasts of the Southern Wild. My sister first asked me during the summer if I’d heard about this movie that everyone was talking about where they cast a bunch of people in their first acting roles, though she wasn’t entirely sure what it was about. I had no clue what it was about, but I didn’t even Google it. I’m sure I heard the name, but I was paying no attention to it. The buzz continued to build and I started to pay a bit of attention when the DVD was released, but it wasn’t easy to figure out what it was about and I wasn’t too intrigued by what little I knew. (However, I did hear an amazing, enchanting song from the soundtrack on the radio one day, but that wasn’t enough to sell me on the entire film.) My sister started asking me about it again, asking if I wanted to watch it with her. I watched the trailer, and still, I wasn’t into it. Even when the Oscar nominations were announced, I wasn’t sure about it, until one day, I just thought, Sure, why not. And now I feel bad that it took me so long.
I love movies that are emotional, metaphorical, beautiful and fantastic (in every sense of the word), and this movie was a perfect combinations of all of these. Beasts of the Southern Wild is set in “The Bathtub,” a fictional settlement (though based on real-life communities) that formed as a results of Hurricane Katrina on the side of the levees opposite the mainland, which often floods during stormy weather, thus its name. The story follows five-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and her single father (Dwight Henry), as the young girl tells the story of her life and the world as she understands it, while her father aims to teach her how to fend for herself. It’s seemingly a plain story, if not brought to life through the symbolic side-plot of extinct Aurochs in the Arctic breaking free of the ice and heading into the ocean, to a destination later revealed.
However, my favourite part of all are the beautiful lines that Hushpuppy delivers, expressing her naivety, strength and imagination, alongside a beautifully-crafted story (an obviously warranted Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, among three others). Whether darkly comedic yet heartbreaking, when Hushpuppy yells at her dad, “I hope you die and after you die I’ll go to your grave and eat birthday cake all by myself,” or profound, “The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece, the entire universe will get busted,” it’s all moving and unforgettable, much like the film as a whole.