BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those films that will split opinions. Having heard about the great splash it made at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, I was expecting something special. Instead I got a film that required me to dig deep and prove myself the utter professional purely for having the ability to see it through to the end.
Nine year-old Quvenzhané Wallis plays a six-year-old girl living in a bayou community under threat by rising water levels. The tale follows her as her drunken father Wink, too proud to leave and relocate to higher grounds, prepares her for a life of survival on her own.
Those taken in by the wider context will no doubt be interested in the fact that it was loosely inspired by Hurricane Katrina and explores the resilience and strength that communities have responded with to the threat of natural disaster. Sadly, though, neither that, nor the themes of survival and human nature’s ability to overcome adversity, are enough to carry the lead-heavy narrative.
A stellar performance by Wallis makes Beats impossible to completely write off – not even the harshest critic could be unmoved as we see her prematurely come of age and look after her drying father as the series of events unfold – but that’s all this film has to offer.