The Best Films of Summer 2012: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Wildly imaginative visuals in this feature film about—climate change?

May 9, 2012
Outside Magazine
8-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis plays the character Hushpuppy

8-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis plays the character Hushpuppy    Photo: JessPinkham

Set in a ramshackle community in a Louisiana bayou, rookie director Benh Zeitlin’s magical-realist epic follows a girl named Hushpuppy and her father, Wink, as they survive the aftermath of a Katrina-size storm. Along with their stout, spirited neighbors, the two refuse to leave their flooded village, trawling for catfish and scrapping for shelter instead. Some eco-disaster films appeal to you with cold, hard evidence, but Beasts, a Fox Searchlight movie that was shot in Bayou country, affects you on a more visceral level—the wildly imaginative visuals (think stampeding aurochs) capture an elusive sense of doom that more left-brained films can only strive for. In theaters: June 27

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