Beasts of the wild at heart

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild

One of the most poetic, poignant and original movies I’ve seen in a looong time. (ok – loved Django insanely) but this is a whole other animal. And it’s an independent film made on a small budget. I’m in love with this little strong-willed girl/actress who is the protagonist in the movie. The trailer does no justice to the full film though. Do turn off the irritating youtube annotation button if you watch this.

 If there are problems viewing the video, you can watch it directly on this link:

I will not write a long post or review of the film, just that it is one of the most beautiful, fantastical, poignant, quirky and unique films I have had the pleasure of watching in my life, and is a reminder of the magic film-making can still be able to create with no expensive CGI effects, but just a strong narrative, stunning camera-work, incredible acting by first-time actors (both the little girl and her daddy) and a lot of love and passion by the film’s makers – Benh Zeitlin and Luci Alibar.

Personally, I have always felt a strong connection with movies which had the female protagonist who was different, not the loud, “popular” girl, or the one who is always with a bunch of other girls – but the introverted, introspective and precocious girl who lives in her own world of action, intellect, imagination, loves her solitude, books and nature and wild clean adventures, looks soft and feminine yet is strong and self-assured and is not afraid to fight her battles or those of the innocent….there are so few in films that way – Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice – the 2005 film) and Jane Eyre – two Victorian women I have always loved, along with Irene Adler from Sherlock Holmes (the books – not the movies which do not even come close to the intelligence Doyle had endowed Irene with) and Ofelia (in Pan’s Labyrinth). And Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild certainly is one from the same family – even though at five years of age, she is definitely the bravest yet the most vulnerable and the youngest and poorest. But you see the same characteristics – the strong will, the powers of observation of the world around her, and the inner strength and ability for introspection; and quiet non-verbal kindness and understanding, but at the same time a determined sense of justice, and wishing to heal and fix the fractures in existence. The introverted girl – a minority in our world and in evolutionary statistics.

Beasts of the Southern Wild also has one of the coolest movie websites…took me a while to realize if you hover the mouse on the screen, little creatures pop up to take you to different scenes.You can directly download the movie from the Apple website (details on the film’s website in the link below) for only 5$.

An experience not to be missed…..

Movie synopsis: In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. 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 unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.

A good review by Bret Fetzer: The devastated landscape of the Louisiana bayou becomes a primordial world in the eyes of 6-year-old Hushpuppy (the fierce and magnetic Quvenzhané Wallis). Hushpuppy’s father Wink (Dwight Henry), emotionally unstable and increasingly ill, fights to maintain their ramshackle home, along with the rest of the precarious community of the area known as the Bathtub–but a Katrina-esque storm leaves the Bathtub flooded, driving Wink to desperate lengths. Faced with the loss of everything she knows, Hushpuppy decides her only hope is to find her mother, but her only clue is a winking light in the distance. Beasts of the Southern Wild tells its story entirely from the 6-year-old girl’s perspective; the actions and emotions of adults take on a mythic scope, as does the damaged environment in which she lives. The movie is dense and rich, often as obscure and murky as the overgrown bayou itself, sometimes off-putting and enticing at the same time. Wallis, her performance brimming with feral energy and a wounded soul, carries the movie with more star power than most adults could muster. The dialogue is thick with intriguing metaphors and the images resist being easily interpreted into a conventional plot, but the story gradually emerges, rising to a potent end. Viewers who take the time to sink into its mysteries will be rewarded. 

beasts of the southern wild


11 thoughts on “Beasts of the wild at heart

  1. loved your review. promise to see the film now. and.. “the introverted, introspective and precocious girl who lives in her own world of action, intellect, imagination, loves her solitude, books and nature and wild clean adventures, looks soft and feminine yet is strong and self-assured and is not afraid to fight her battles or those of the innocent..” sounds like a self-description, maybe? and nothing wrong with that… ;o)

    • Oy, John…yes – the movie is pretty captivating – it is also a good showcase of the bayou community in New Orleans. But most of all, the fact that they made such an engaging film with such a low budget by a first time director and 2 first time actors is rather incredible. Love the movie’s website btw.

      The description…..oh well, maybe somewhat guilty as charged, but I wrote that description for the protagonists mentioned who represent introverted yet introspective women in film. All of them have one thing in common – despite facing many downs in life they don’t see themselves as victims and take fate in their own hands.

      They are also *very* different from what I recently saw in this funny gif-file link. And the ones in the links are the ‘better’ ones seen as good role models these days, as the worse are the snookis and kardashians and ‘real housewives stars’ (insert UK equivalent of reality stars) that is supposed to be the ‘norm’ or what women can relate to these days: (as in the link). This is the generation which is the post-sex-and-the-city woman ‘power’. Once again – these are the better ones, I don’t want to deface my page with links to the more histrionic ones. But a guy friend of mine said “wow- that’s depressing” when he saw this – and said, yes – those are the options of the American man these days.

      I used to feel like an alien in the midst. Went through my 20s wondering why the girls I could relate to existed in fiction but not so much in popular media. Not finding many like my own, I was never a group person, and just focused all my energies on work and travel. (I admit – I did love playing Tomb Raider the video game as I could relate very well to that girl – not her…er..’endowments’ of course ;) Loved Amelie and Ofelia too, and love Lisbeth Salander (I even had/drove a motorbike in my late teens through my early 20s). So sure, I get very happy, when I see a minority of movies which seem to cover the solitude and nature-adventure loving introverted girl-child or woman ;)

      Now I have met a few women with the same disposition like me. In fact going for brunch this Sunday with one – my kinda girl – and who works as a journalist for a very respected newspaper.

  2. Well, this thread has taken an interesting turn… your ’20somethings’ link made me sad for them, and it made me think of how the machine trains men to desire only the SATC types. Even those of us who find Amelie and Lisbeth much more exciting are told that we are only successful if we have an SATC on our arms. Powerful marketing, and I’ve been susceptible myself, as we’ve discussed… But I think you and your friends, who take your fate in your hands, are in a better place than those who are defined only by the power they exert on men…. Enjoy your brunch :o)

    • Yikes – so it IS real that “the machine trains men to desire only the SATC types”. Suspected so.
      I did get a lot of male attention though – and was always told I was “different’. But I was very socially shy and naive (though professionally adept) – so I tended to relate to men always like my buddies (because inside I felt more like a guy – I was also attracted to beautiful women – not in a lesbian-way, but as in art appreciation). I was lucky to be in a long-term relation for many years with an introverted but alpha-male, and am once again.
      The media marketing of certain “types”made you feel there was something wrong with you if you were not sleeping around like the SATC types or buying 1000s of shoes & purses. I never followed any of those messages (later finding that’s an INTJ trait – to never get swayed by catchphrases) and only recently I realized years later that I was always a high-value woman in the dating market (my present partner told me) precisely because I had not followed those norms but was my own person. The media makes girls like us feel that there is something “wrong” with us, when in truth most multi-dimensional and introspective alpha men can relate better with us.

      I later realized that if it’s so “great” to be partying like that and sleeping around tons, why are those women desperately still complaining that no high-value man wants to marry them. I can at least say in my life that despite being a book-store/cafe type and never a party-type, the men who loved me, very quickly wanted to marry me. For clarity – let me add that I don’t of course see a marriage proposal as a validation stamp (in fact I don’t care much for validation either way) and am very French in my ideas about legal marriage or rather lack thereof (I see it as a psychological prison for men and a legal trap in most countries) I am also shocked at the amount of idiotic manipulative books there are out there teaching women on how to get proposals. Also the idiocy of valentine day marketing tactics and the stupidity in general leaves me scratching my head. Highly illogical, as my inner Mr. Spock would say.

      So yes – you are right – at the end, every introverted and grounded woman I personally know has turned out quite content and happy in life and in loving relationships, to boot, with the men that most women chase. And we introverted girls never did any chasing. We just stayed ourselves and never played games. (albeit, I have often had Seinfeld situations by relating to a man like a buddy, only to find he didn’t see me as a buddy, so now I’m more careful to realize that I do look like a woman.) Personally I don’t even know games or how to flirt. It just seems so idiotic and pointless anyway and such complicated social rituals. (yep – I’m a geek dude inside ;)

  3. :o) yes it’s real. thank god some of us resist being trained by the machine though!

    the ‘buddy’ thing is interesting. i’ve had ‘misunderstandings’ with SATC/BPD types who start off all seductive, then change to wanting some sort of male girlfriend thing, and then act hurt when it’s politely explained that’s not a menu choice. i guess we all crave what we can’t get, and they can seduce men easily but cannot create friendships of trust and respect. it occurs to me that a good and functional ‘marriage’ is a special case of such a friendship, and so maybe their need for the ‘validation’ of marriage is part of the same story…

    afraid i’m failing in my promise to see the movie… very frustrating DRM experience with the Apple store. my Apple ID is apparently only good for the UK store, but Beasts is only in the US store. grrrr. when can we become simply citizens of planet internet? plus, i was planning to watch it on my forthcoming trip to Oman, so pick the geographically defined copyright bones out of that!

    • Don’t worry – I think the movie can wait…I’ve a feeling it will become a big phenomenon very soon – it’s up for 4 Oscar nominations already. Then it will be available everywhere including mainstream theatres.

      My ‘buddy’ misunderstandings were more for feeling like a geeky guy inside and being socially clueless for many years. It usually occurred with other geeky men. But if I really, really liked any man in a man-woman way, I’d become utterly shy like Amelie and couldn’t express what I felt at all and hide. (I think in a post I’d explained on my brain systemizing quotient, it’s 65/80. Acc. to Simon Baron-Cohen “normal” women have it at 24, and “normal”men at 30. Engineers, mathematicians etc. of both sexes tend to have very high systemizing quotients.)
      With my first partner who was French, with whom I was for many years and parted with very amicable and with very good tidings, when we first met – at a museum – he told me within the first 15 minutes that his “eventual intention is to make love” to me. This goes against the entire norm of going through the whole verbal ritual and innuendos. But I loved that upfront-ness because it saved me all the confusion or ambiguities that courtship-talk is meant to entail, or whether someone wants to be a friend or a lover.

      Since I don’t understand games, seduction and all the stupidity and manipulation involved with that, I prefer people being upfront about their intentions. At least it can then be a yes and no right away. Saves confusion and lies. I know that this is an exception as many women and probably men love the whole flirtation and courtship and chase/hiding ritual; I do have a girly-chip missing – never quite understood that.

      In any case – the movie’s nothing of that kind. It’s about an innocent and spunky little girl…but it’s the camerawork that is so engaging as well. It’s going to be global pretty soon – once the Oscars have spoken ;)

      Watch “Argo” though if you can. Insanely friggin’ nail-biting good. The fact that it happened in reality makes it even more crazy.

  4. do you not think flirtation and ritual gives love a better chance of getting a foothold? if i had to declare to women i meet whether or not i wanted to get romantically involved, within the first few minutes, i think i’d make even more mistakes than i do already! i do agree though that is is better to be straight than to play ‘hard to get’ games, or to try to manipulate by faking or concealing feelings. i guess putting those two thoughts together says that we should be sending a lot of honest ‘i like you but i’m not sure yet’ messages! which sounds like a pretty good flirting platform to me :o)

    and thanks for the movie tips….

    • I think varied forms of courtship and romance truly vary from person to person. (and as geeky as I try to show myself off – you know well that I’m also someone who writes old fashioned Victorian poems.) So yes – at least my partner then was lucky it worked for him – but truth is – we both were very naive and young back then, and both of us were socially inept, so maybe today it would have been different. Anyway – we can continue this dialogue in our private pages – otherwise it would be hard to give out more on a public forum. Wishing you good luck on your trip!

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