Monday, April 15, 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild presents a real problem for me. I love the magic realism yet I hate the reality portrayed. The Bathtub is a magical world on the wrong side of the levee in far south Louisiana. Six year old Hushpuppy lives there with her abusive and alcoholic father. Like the other residents of the Bathtub, they live in squalor in one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

If you take the story at face value, it is a disheartening tale of wasted lives and child abuse. However, if you see it as the metaphor the director intended, it is the story of all humanity, striving and mostly failing to overcome our limitations. I'm not sure if "the big picture" really overcomes the darkness of the world of the Bathtub.

This is a movie which will provoke strong reactions. I was completely unsettled by the empty and cruel lives of the characters and yet I was charmed by the magic of the director. This is yet another movie that casts the residents of the deep south in a very negative light. It was filmed in far south Terrebonne Parish, a place of great natural beauty and danger.

This movie isn't for everyone, but if you look beneath the surface of the characters' wasted lives there is a profound message to be read.

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