Directed by Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a really symbolic film. The audience get to follow main characters:Hush Puppy and her dad Wink, played by the 9 year old Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry.
It is hard to describe the movie in one sentence since it is really symbolic. There is a fictional community called The Bathtub where Hush Puppy and her dad live with the fellow Bathtub-ers away from the capitalist word, away from the machines. These people that lived here can be considered as neutralist and from another approach-outsiders.
Benh Zeitlin introduces the theme of fear to the audience and finding your personality in life by force, by being alone. The Beats shown throughout the film symbolize Hush Puppy’s fear for being alone and standing on her feet at such early age without his dad. Wink consistently tries to get Hush Puppy used to surviving and staying strong. Separated from her mom when she was just born, Hush Puppy is raised by her dad like a little boy. She is a special child. Hush Puppy listens to the live creatures’ heartbeats. I believe that this is a reference to babies listening to their mother’s heartbeats in the womb. She is portrayed both as a little baby with the close-up shots that show the fear in her eyes and sometimes with POV shots from her dad, showing her how to be a “man”.
The fictional theme is presented as though it is realistic so it makes it so hard to keep focused at the story line. If it was like Lord of the Rings, presenting a fictional story with fictional characters I believe it would be so much easier to focus. However Zeitlin took a different approach by telling a fictional story with non-fictional characters. The camera-work also portrays a non-fictional story line by being hand-held. It kind of makes the audience think it is a documentary. Lighting is kept natural, however there are some long exposure shots used during Hush Puppy’s celebration with the fireworks, which adds a fairytale-istic mood.
Quvenzhané is such a beautiful girl with pretty features that it is impossible not to sympathize with the character throughout the film. I am not sure if it will be an Oscar winning film, however I do believe it deserved being nominated. It is not a regular Hollywood film. It has a strong message and approach to it from its’ director. I don’t think that this should be the movie that wins the Best Picture Oscar compared to the other nominations which I will be writing about really soon. However Quvenzhané does deserve the Best Actress Oscar of 2013!