Thursday, November 05, 2015

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This film is like a fable written by Terry Gilliam, and filmed by Terrence Malick.  It’s impressionistic, hazy, up for debate, sad, strange, and beautiful. It’s a movie that makes you want to make movies.  If it was better, you might not be as inspired by it.  The film is about a rundown community of jolly fools who live on the edge of survival and civilization, in a place called the Bathtub. The world has passed these people by, and they are just fine with that, besides, there’s “No crying in the Bathtub.” This is a place to experience and celebrate the mysteries of life, and to realize your connection to, and your purpose in, the universe. Nobody in the Bathtub exemplifies this more than Hushpuppy, a six year old spitfire of love, passion, and joy who just wants her mommy back and her daddy, Wink, to take care of her.  Wink wants to make her strong enough to take care of herself, because he’s slowly dying, so he’s downright frightening and seems like a danger to Hushpuppy in some scenes.  He says his job is to “keep you from dying.” Gradually, as the film unfolds, we begin to see why Wink is this way.  His wife ran off after Hushpuppy was born. True love crushed him, and all he knows now is that living is good, so he’s too tough on Hushpuppy. He gives Hushpuppy her own double wide on their property. Until she burns it down, gets rescued by Wink, and a giant storm hits the Bathtub, flooding everything.  The polar icecaps start melting, and the Aurochs, giant wooly mammoth-boars get unfrozen from the ice, and head toward the Bathtub.  Society finally notices the Bathtub, but only makes things worse, and Hushpuppy leads a gang of pre-pubescent girl orphans on a quest to find mothers.  Hushpuppy is a kid character for the ages. She saves the Bathtub from the Aurochs by being herself, and taking the time to explain her situation to bloodthirsty animals, something only a kid would think to do. She knows what’s right, and doesn’t question it.

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