Beasts of the Southern Wild

DRAMA; 1hr 93min

STARRING: Dwight Henry, Quvenzhané Wallis

Wild child: Wallis

In South Louisiana, life in the remote bayou shrimping community of the Bathtub is elemental and unfettered for six-year-old Hushpuppy (Wallis) and her unstable, frail, liquor-loving daddy, Wink (Henry). The two co-exist in chaotic backwoods squalor, Wink in a tumbledown shack and Hushpuppy in a separate trailer, their bare-bones alliance as precarious as the roiling weather that threatens to shatter their primitive homes.


When the storm breaks, it’s primal and crazed. The Bathtub is flooded and all but decimated, while across the globe, giant prehistoric creatures are unleashed. Reflecting its unworldly setting, director Benh Zeitlin’s striking brand of magic realism — adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar’s play — is haunting and feral, with the Bathtub a borderland where so-called civilised rules don’t apply. Hushpuppy is its unshrinking guardian, yet she’s a child nonetheless, pining for her absent mother, frightened for her future and fiercely protective of what little she has. Like Henry, Wallis has never acted before, but there’s a boundless understanding in her eyes.