Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Movies That Move Me: Beasts of the Southern Wild

"When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces." -Hushpuppy

Beasts of the Southern Wild explores the religion of imagination. The narrative film which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, breaks down all of our predetermined beliefs about how life is supposed to be lived and what we are meant to aspire to.
The creators of this film were savvy to the fact that the perspective of a child is golden and fleeting. And their choice of telling this story of home, survival, and the basic grittiness of inherent love, through the eyes and voice of Hushpuppy, was a brilliant way to inspire gratitude in the viewer. Not to be grateful for opening our eyes to a subculture rarely spoken about, but for reminding us of the universal language of children and the lengths they go to to protect what made them.
While this film is the opposite of every plot-driven, rock 'em, sock 'em Hollywood blockbuster, it highlights a profound message of learning to use your imagination in place of fear and realizing how to be effortlessly grateful for the life you were born into. And for never having left "The Bathtub"- a nickname for the seemingly forgotten Bayou community that she calls home- the world through Hushpuppy's eyes, is more vast and colorful than any world traveler. In the absence of sappy music and over-sentimentality, the writing in Beasts of the Southern Wild, evident through a subtly outstanding performance by a six year old girl, was the deeply rooted foundation of this raw and poignant film.
The story weighed heavily on the theme of a child's tireless allegiance to her parents and a relentless yearning to be "lifted", as hushpuppy piercingly refers to being held- her "favorite thing". And the viewer is gracefully reminded that regardless of how much you love, there is no point in trying to change or fix anyone.
While the last meal in the film consisted of battered and fried crocodile, I would be content with this movie being the last thing I ever have, in hopes of being reminded of the strength and paradise of imagination that we were all born with. Beasts of the Southern Wild is the human spirit realized in film, steady and heartbreaking, and the brave men stay and watch it happen.

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