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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012); Rated PG-13
Six-year-old Hushpuppy lives with her father, Wink, in a remote Delta community. Wink is a stern taskmaster, but he is preparing his young daughter for the end of the world. When Wink falls mysteriously ill, nature seems to fall ill with him. Temperatures rise, the ice caps melt and fearsome prehistoric beasts called aurochs run loose. Rising waters threaten to engulf their community, sending Hushpuppy in search of her long-lost mother.


Story type:
Family and Community; Man vs. Nature

Personal Response:

  1. I believe the theme of Beasts of the Southern Wild is the importance of community. In the film, Hushpuppy knows nothing about the world except for what is in the Bathtub. Her, her father, and the rest of the Bathtub community stay there because it is their home. Even when some members leave due to the impending storm, Hushpuppy, her dad, and a few select citizens don’t leave. The Bathtub means home to them, even if that means danger. When the citizens of the Bathtub are forced onto the mainland and have to stay in a shelter, everyone is miserable. Their lives may be taken care of better, but that does not matter. Home is where they belong.
  2. I believe that, besides the theme/story type of family and community (mentioned above), man versus nature is also a prominent story type in this film. However, I do not think it follows the strict rules of a man versus nature film, like Wild, because this movie was much more than that. Nature is what the entire Bathtub essentially is – the residents do not rely on electricity in the form of phones, ovens, lighting, etc. Everything they make is from nature. They make their own food from the animals they have and use their made-up tools combined with whatever natural resources are available. So, nature is an inescapable conflict, however, not to the characters’ dismay. However, the ice caps and global warming mentioned do occur against the characters’ wishes.
  3. Many filmmaking components stood out to me in this movie, including the characters, setting, sets, score, and shots. I think that the characters, mainly Hushpuppy and Wink, have unique traits and dynamics. Their father-daughter relationship was complex, yet, the audience knew that they always loved and would take care of the other. The sets in the movie were very realistic. I think that films that shoot where the movie takes place not only have an extreme dedication, but there is also a sense of true realness. Additionally, the handheld camera played a big part in the immersion and lifelike characteristics of this movie.
  4. I think Beasts of the Southern Wild establishes its universe in a way that many other films could not even come close to doing. Because it is a world very different from the audience’s, it could have been difficult to keep the audience’s attention during the whole movie. However, this movie successfully completes the task based on the realness of the film (as mentioned above). In addition to the lifelike acting and sets, people become attached to the characters and to the Bathtub itself, so much that it seems like home to them.
  5. The scene that struck me the most was when Hushpuppy stands up to the aurochs. The aurochs are mentioned several times throughout the duration of the film. It is unknown to the audience if people other than Hushpuppy can see the aurochs. In this scene, the girls who are with Hushpuppy run away in fear of something. However, when Wink looks at Hushpuppy through the opening in his house, he only sees her, not the aurochs. I think the aurochs represent the fear that Hushpuppy has. I think this fear could be fear of losing her father or fear of what is to come after he dies. I think the latter makes sense for why the other girls could see the aurochs too, because they would be scared for the future without Wink also. I will remember this scene the most not only because of the symbolism behind it but also because it is a well-crafted, beautiful yet simple scene.
  6. I love this movie. I remember the first time I saw it I was weeping at the end because of how deeply captivated I was. From the superb acting to the deep portrayal of the importance of a family and community, this film is outstanding. It also provides insights on how to live life. I do not think it romanticizes homelessness but rather tells a story of how money cannot buy happiness. The Bathtub is the home of Hushpuppy, Wink, and dozens of other families. They love the Bathtub and want to stay there, not because they are “homeless” there, but because it is where they are the happiest.