Beasts of the Southern Wild (#58)
This isn’t what I expected. I don’t mean thematically, tonally or aesthetically, but the plot doesn’t develop in the way promoted by the log line. That’s alright though. Beasts of the Southern Wild is most definitely an independent picture and devoted to itself (that’s a good thing). Quvenzhane Wallis is dynamite and wonderful as HushPuppy, which the rest of the generally unknown cast is also very good. The relationship between the aurochs (which are amazing, by the way) and the rest of the film was a little hazy to me - are they real? a metaphor? and if so, a metaphor for what exactly? - but I ended up thinking it was a cool touch. They represent a problem for the film in general though: despite being told from the POV of a child, some moments that I, as an audience member, would have liked to have explained, were not. And in this case over ambiguity hurt the final product. Did I like this on the whole? I’m not sure. It’s definitely not my style, but it’s well done, and even if I wasn’t thrilled by the first 2/3, it managed to make me teary at the end, so that has to count for something. The music, composed by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, is positively wonderful and one of the best scores I’ve heard in ages.