Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures.
When the film begins, the titular beasts seem to be the animals surrounding 6-year-old Hushpuppy. As it progresses, the definition expands in several ways. There’s not really a plot here, more of a situation: she lives in an isolated bayou community with her father, but since it’s told thru her eyes, everything takes on a dramatic and fanciful perspective. The remarkable performance by newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis has you alternating between wanting to comfort her and cheer her pluck. The film feels and looks low-budget (esp. the never-ending shaky camera), but there’s a sophistication to the naiveté. This cinematic poem is charming, arresting and frustrating…in good and bad ways that will appeal to those with open minds and creative curiosity.
NOTE: Richmonder Michael Gottwald is one of the producers.
Jerry Williams reviewed movies for WTVR-TV for 14 years and for Style Weekly for 10 years. When he launched his own website in 1998 at TVJerry.com, he took his reviews to the Internet. Through those hundreds of reviews, Jerry kept his sexual orientation muted. So, he's excited to be adding "gay angles" to his postings for GayRVA.com.