Beasts of the Southern Wild [Blu-ray]
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the world by a sprawling levee, six year-old Hushpuppy exists on the brink of orphanhood. Her mother long gone, and her father Wink a wildman on a perpetual spree, Hushpuppy is left to her own devices on an isolated compound filled with semi-feral animals. She perceives the natural world to be a fragile web of living, breathing, squirting things, in which the entire universe depends on everything fitting together just right.So when a hundred year storm raises the waters around her town, her daddy is suddenly stricken with illness, and fierce pre-historic creatures awaken from their frozen graves to come charging across the planet, Hushpuppy sees the natural order of everything she holds dear collapsing around her. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive an unstoppable catastrophe of epic proportions.
- MPAA rating : s_medPG13 PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.3 x 0.45 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Item model number : FXSE2282478BR
- Director : Benh Zeitlin
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 33 minutes
- Release date : December 4, 2012
- Actors : Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper
- Dubbed: : Spanish
- Subtitles: : Spanish, English
- Studio : Fox Searchlight
- ASIN : B008220ALC
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #87,753 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Louisiana location footage and realistic acting from non-professionals help bring this adaptation of a stage play to life. The film's real heart is the determination of the little girl, who imagines herself facing down prehistoric boars (the titular beasts) and conversing with her departed mother as the world seems to be ending around her. The film's greatest asset is that it makes us care about the characters and particularly about the tough little girl's struggle to grow up quickly as her father declines and the world around her collapses.
If there is any flaw here, it's that the film suffers from a certain predictability and familiarity. Early foreshadowing scenes make sure there is rarely a point where we can't predict the film's direction: A storm will hit, the father will decline, and the little girl will learn to survive in a world of rural poverty suddenly made even poorer. What makes the film worthwhile, despite its stagey and predictable plot, is the winsome acting that makes the setting come alive. Many of the interactions between father and daughter, and between them and other local survivors, are so delightful to watch that we never feel like we're just waiting for the next scene. It's not the greatest film ever made, but it's the best Katrina-themed survival tale I've seen on film.
The DVD includes a making-of documentary.
The film depicts a world unto itself, a place so specific, so utterly culturally unique, that it is almost mythical. It's a place surrounded on all sides by water. It's a sandbar/swamp perched barely above sea level, in waters beyond the bayous of what must be Louisiana. It might as well be a floating village, a bunch of rafts just lashed together somewhere out in the ocean.
The maybe two or three dozen people who live there call the place that they live "the Bathtub."
They are able to swim to the mainland, but it's not easy. Moreover, they would never choose to live there, among people who live on solid land.
The outside world is little more than a myth to these people. (The film might be compared to a great book about a similiarly tiny and isolated village -- "Suna no Onna," or "The Woman of the Dunes," by Kobo Abe.)
The people live symbiotically in a tumbledown village of shacks barely held together by scraps of paper, wood, road signs or posters, or whatever other debris floats their way, all patched together. They and their village are perpetually on the edge of extinction, not only because of the tiny size of their population and their utter isolation, but because any real rise in the waters could simply erase their community from the map.
They live precariously in abject poverty on the very border of existence and non-existence. But they are not hungry. And they are very happy, content, tight-knit. They have a little school, where the teacher sometimes shares her beliefs, speaking passionately but informally about the beginning and the end of the world, sharing some of the mythology that is actually tattooed on her body. For the teacher personally, it seems like some kind of mixture of religions, some kind of cajun voodoo. And of course the kids are impressionable. The people live in nothing more than bare subsistence, third world conditions. But again, they are happy.
These people have an intimate relationship with Nature. This is partly because of the watery world they live in, their extreme poverty living in sand and mud, largely open to the elements. It's partly because of their intimate relations with their food sources. They catch or kill with their own hands everything that they eat. It's hand to mouth, daily. It's partly because of their extremely small population, which fosters closeness and interdependence. These people live in close quarters in the sense that the very land under their feet is nothing more than a tiny sandbar surrounded by sea, sky, mist.
In this mix is a very little (tiny) girl who has tremendous dignity, beyond her years. Though not visibly apparent, we gradually find that she seems to have an inarticulate -- or unarticulated -- but almost superhuman comprehension of the world she lives in, an almost magical grasp of the nature of, and the frailty and durability of, life and death. Interestingly, the viewer of the film does not even know whether these qualities are necessarily unique to her, or qualities common to her people. She's the protagonist, so we see everything through her eyes.
The little girl sees past, present, future, dreamtime all intermingled, co-existing. The film has absolute temporality and specificity of time and place -- but it is a place so specific, so unique that you cannot know whether such a place actually exists.
We only ever know the little girl as "Hushpuppy." That's what she's called, and for all we know, that's her actual name.
A flood comes. Given the precarious and only semi-terrestrial existence of the village, the flood is of truly biblical proportions. It is devastating, leaving carcasses floating in the water and washed up in the mud. Meanwhile, Hushpuppy's father (her only parent) is dying of some kind of illness.
The father is nothing but gruff with the little girl throughout the film, but it turns out that this demeanor is misleading.
The truth is that he basically sees and therefore treats his tiny daughter -- who is little more than a baby -- as an equal, as if he knows the strength or magic she has. And we don't know how much of that strength or magic is a result, actually, of her upbringing by this man.
The father's treatment of the girl seems for a good part of the beginning of this film to be abject, what you'd call criminal, neglect. He disappears for days without even telling the girl that he's leaving. She wanders for days in the mud, in her underwear. Then he shows up again. He apparently assumes that while he's gone, she'll wander to someone else's shack and they will take care of her, or that she'll get hungry and simply kill a chicken or something. He doesn't disappear because he's drunk or anything. He has his reasons for disappearing. Still, he doesn't so much as mention to this little girl that he's leaving or where he's going or where he's been.
Ultimately, the little girl, Hushpuppy, sees the apocalypse -- directly, with her own eyes -- but simply rejects it, out of strength, principle, loyalty, and a sense of belonging. It's as if the world actually ends, but she simply wills it back into existence.
Her father dies. She wraps and ties his body up in a blanket, sets him in a boat, sets the boat ablaze, and pushes it out to sea. Life goes on, because she tells it to. She's barely more than a baby, with a profound sense of heritage and belonging.
"Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub."
This is the display of sight and sound, at the highest level. It is often said that films dishonor books that conceived them. But in this instance, no book could ever do this movie justice because this movie is a new sort of art that very few films ever achieve. It is a pure film that uses light, sound, editing, acting, direction and camera work de-novo. There is simply no way to write it down because it is essentially and entirely cinematic.
To put it another way, I am unable to explain the plot in words. Whatever I might try say by way of narrative will certainly miss the point and to me, the point is the experience of the film itself. It REALLY is an experience and it is so well done that it brought me to tears and leaves me in awe. Give it your full attention and you WILL be affected.
Top reviews from other countries
My husband and I love film, and we have very wide and eclectic tastes, as my Film Reviews on this site attest. We have a great fondness for low budget, technically experimental films ~ 'Ten'(2002); 'Moon'(2009); 'Monsters'(2010) ~ and for films which focus on the plight of the poor and forgotten of society ~ 'Miracle in Milan'(1950); 'Winter’s Bone'(2010); 'Rust & Bone'(2012). This film fits both bills. However, having watched it, then read through many of the reviews here and on line, about this much-lauded and award-winning film, we are utterly bemused.
The reviews on this site that we felt most matched our own are ‘Northern Wit’ (June 2019) who said they were totally “adrift from” the critics quoted on the DVD’s packaging, and ‘Cameo Roll’ (March 2013) who found it “sad, confusing and unpleasant”, and more besides. Amongst the breathless eulogising by professionals, there were also some nay-sayers, with whom, again, we totally agree: Cole Smithey, the American who is a major contributor to the Film Review site ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ and YouTube, gave it 0/5 Stars, and said it was “infuriating, insulting, and bathed in patronising condescension”. Very saliently, the highly-regarded African-American academic, feminist and social activist bell hooks, said of it “the vibrancy in this film is generated by a crude pornography of violence”. She also described the young female star Quvenzhané Wallis’s role as Hushpuppy thus: “a miniature version of the ‘strong black female matriarch,’ racist and sexist representations have depicted from slavery on into the present day”.
Where to begin!
Beyond doubt, the film is patronising and unpleasant. Is it really trying to tell us that the poor, by choice, live in disgusting filth and abject squalor, eating food off the floor, or even worse, in animal pens, without any attempt to remedy their situation? Is it saying that the poor are, by choice, routinely drunk to the point of passing out? Is it lauding the idea of exposing a young child to attacks by alligators, as Wink, Hushpuppy’s father appears to do on more than one occasion? Do all poor, unemployed Dads strike their little girls, leave them free to cook on life-threatening cookers and take boats out on the Bayou unaided? There is nothing noble, endearing or worthy about Wink and his neighbours. They are crude caricatures, totally unappealing, and unsympathetic. Director Benh Zeitlin has done the Louisiana poor no favours here.
Quvenzhané Wallis is an amazing child actress (hence the 2nd Star), but my hope throughout was that Hushpuppy would be taken into care, and finally be safe!
Who is she? A tiny string-bean girl with a large frizzy afro, wild imagination and beautiful Creole voice whose musical sing-song cadences come straight out of the Louisiana bayou. No way to describe that voice. Has to be heard to be adored. In it there’s innocence and wonder, but also cocksure pride that the cosmos and Hushpuppy are one, or even that the cosmos was created so that Hushpuppy could be born into it in order to discover it, to make it real. The child’s view is simple yet touched by grandeur, a sense of unity and beauty that inspires awe. The world isn’t anything like Hushpuppy conceives it, yet you wind up loving her for seeing it as she does. You want her visions too. You want her to be right, just like you want the world to be right, to be a better place than it is, far more just and equitable and sane.
Hushpuppy is poor. So is Wink, her daddy. So is everybody else around her, all her neighbours — black, white, brown, mulatto, many colours of the rainbow. Poverty here is endemic, as is survival. They’ve been doing it for generations, living off next to nothing, off chickens, hogs, fish, crab and sometimes alligator for food; moonshine for drink; tattered garments for clothes; scraps and junk for shelter — old lumber, wooden crates, sheet metal, plastic tarps, rotten planks from beached fishing boats, baling wire, rusted car doors, whatever works to build their shacks. But they have each other, something called community, a thing that used to be common in the world but isn’t anymore. They live hand to mouth but look after one another, unlike the city dwellers whose jungle lives demand dog eat dog. So Hushpuppy’s life is bathed in two great things: the cosmos and love.
And speaking of bathing, which they do once in a while, they live in a place nicknamed The Bathtub. What’s that? A depression in the land below the levee, a coastal place of high risk due to global warming and rising tides. The rich live in the city beyond the levee, protected by the smugness of their money and engineering ingenuity. When the ice melts, as it will (as it’s melting right now), The Bathtub will flood and overflow. What then? Boats and logs and rafts, anything that floats, even old pick-up trucks with thick beams attached to them. People and animals and vegetables, just like with Noah’s ark. The water won’t kill them. They’ll find a way to survive, just as they always have. But if the levee breaks — look out! That’s something different for others. That’s disaster. That’s catastrophe. That’s death. The urban folk will drown.
Hushpuppy walks barefoot to the old school-house the way Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer used to at their school. Her teacher, Miss Bathsheba, teaches the children about nature and global warming. Do you know the ice caps are melting, children? Do you know what man is doing to God’s green Earth and to all his creatures great and small? They know because Miss Bathsheba has taught them. One day the ice caps will melt and the frozen aurochs in them will thaw. Then what? The aurochs will wake up and be hungry. What are aurochs? Great beasts like mammoths. Big tusks. Ferocious temperaments. Darwin says the strong survive, so they are Darwin’s beasts. Even the people in The Bathtub will have no chance. The aurochs will conquer the world like man once did. They will devour things but they won’t poison the land, sea and sky as man does now.
They are coming. Miss Bathsheba says so. So does the sea. Hushpuppy knows. She writes things down on cardboard boxes. Why? For scientists of the future, for the wise or lucky ones who survive. What does she write? She writes Hushpuppy was here. She saw what happened.
Hushpuppy is a girl but she’s also a state of mind in Hushpuppy’s mind. There in that mind Hushpuppy looks at a character called Hushpuppy and talks about her, as we do, in the third person. Both Hushpuppies are anchored in their homes, one in The Bathtub, the other in the cosmos.
As stated, the cosmos makes sense to Hushpuppy because it brought Hushpuppy into it. Was there a cosmos before Hushpuppy? We and Hushpuppy can’t picture it, just as we can’t picture nothingness, the nothingness that existed before the Big Bang created time and space and matter. The cosmos gains consciousness through Hushpuppy, looks at itself through her. The stars in the firmament are truly there because Hushpuppy is here to see them. Miss Bathsheba says stars are other suns, light and warmth for other worlds. Hushpuppy believes her. She believes everything the teacher teaches because Miss Bathsheba is wise. It’s why her teacher lives in the Bathtub, not the city. She needs no levee to live. Education and wisdom are better, proved time and again by what Miss Bathsheba says and what Hushpuppy sees and confirms. Things make sense because Hushpuppy is here. Someday future scientists will know it too.
Papa Wink is not well. He has fits and delirium tremors. His heart is bad too because he drinks too much. He worries a lot and loses his temper often. He doesn’t laugh and smile. Hushpuppy looks at him in wonder sometimes because he doesn’t wonder about the stars and sky the way Miss Bathsheba does. In fact, one night during a violent rain storm he got angry at the storm and sky. He took his shotgun into the rain and pointed it at the sky and moon. Then he fired. Not once, but at least three times. Bang, bang, bang! The thunder was noisy, and so was Wink, her drunken, violent daddy.
Where is mama? Who knows? Hushpuppy thinks about her but can’t see a face or even hear a voice. Mama is a ghost, not a memory. Hushpuppy is haunted by her. Papa says Hushpuppy happened because papa loved mama. So Hushpuppy was made by love? Yes, she learns. And the cosmos? Must be the same, she reckons. Something or someone called God loves colours and beauty and grandeur. Like love, the cosmos is real. Hushpuppy knows it. Miss Bathsheba taught her it.
What happens when the storm comes, when the water rises? The people float, they survive like Noah and the animals did. But much of the world must die. Then, when the waters recede, the aurochs will come, just as Miss Bathsheba said they would. They are hungry and destructive. Frozen in the ice, they’ve been waiting a long time to eat. What happens when Hushpuppy meets the aurochs? Oh, you have to see this for yourself! It is called the climax.
None of us knows where the cosmos comes from. Some say a black hole, others from a multiverse, our cosmic mother. We want to know but can’t figure it out. We are too puny, too cerebrally feeble to know. If even Miss Bathsheba doesn’t know, how can we? Hushpuppy admits it.
But Hushpuppy knows some important things. For example, Hushpuppy exists. So does the earth. So does the sun and all the other suns. So does the cosmos. She watches it looking at her, the stars twinkling and winking at her. Is this why Daddy is named Wink? When he was young like Hushpuppy, did he think and see as she does? Did Wink know the universe was made for him too? Did his eyes shine as Hushpuppy’s do, reflecting the light of the stars back to themselves? Is that why they wink? Is that their signal to us, a signal that says, “I see you. I see your light or my own light shining back to me”? Who can say? Probably Miss Bathsheba knows.
Before the film ends Hushpuppy tells us this:
“When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces. When I look too hard, it goes away. But when it all goes quiet, I see they are right here. I see that I’m a little piece of a big, big universe. And that makes things right.”
In its strange, offbeat, eccentric, amateurish, low budget, DIY, ramshackle way, the film is a masterpiece, proof that the art of cinema is not dead yet, not yet devoured by the aurochs we are bound to unleash on the world through our greed, arrogance and recklessness. Get yourself an ark and pray to the god of your choice as the waters rise.
It tells of a young 6 year old girl named Hushpuppy who lives with her father Wink in a forgotten ramshackle town called The Bathtub on a small southern Louisiana island. Then when an environmental disaster nearly destroys her town and her defiant father becomes ill, Hushpuppy is forced to strike out and survive on her own to face the weathers' elements, prehistoric beasts that have awoken and her own destiny.
This film is fresh, it's original and it showcases a sensational and outstanding performance by Quvenzhane Wallis in the role of Hushpuppy, the girl who has to deal with so many complications in her young life, coping with a strong defiant father in Wink (Dwight Henry), losing her mother and having to cope with what disasters lie in store for her. In my mind, she deserved her Oscar nomination, being the youngest ever actress to be nominated. And I think that the other Oscar nominations it had where deserved also.
Although this originally came out in 2012, I think that this is one of the best films I've seen that was released in 2012. Totally enthralling throughout and an absolutely terrific piece of film-making. This reviewer was transfixed and delighted. Superb and astonishing.
The best I can say about it is that it reminds us (if a reminder is needed), that not everyone in the USA is comfortably well off.
Apart from that I thought it truly awful.