Beast it! Beasts of the Southern Wild – Not quite so beastly

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100 movies of 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Every ounce of me wanted to love this film. Wanted to get taken away with it. Wanted it to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling it’s been giving all you people who’ve seen it. This should be hint enough that it didn’t quite hit the mark with me.

Beasts of the Southern Wild lost me. I’m trying to pinpoint where exactly it lost me, but failing. Maybe about half an hour into the film I lost track of what exactly it was I was watching. Lost my grasp of where the film was going.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully appreciate the look and feeling of the film. Which I did enjoy. Beasts of the Southern Wild looks beautiful. The score and music matches the tone of the film perfectly. Little Quvenzhané Wallis made for a very endearing young heroine. But it was the lack of a more tangible plot that made me lose my grip on the film.

Maybe Beasts of the Southern Wild will be that film I revisit in a few years and I’ll see something else in it. For now, it’s just that okay film I wished I enjoyed that little bit more.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Viewed: 09/01/13 | Rating: 3/5)

Check out all of the films I’ve seen this year:

2 films so far…

  1. Flight (Viewed: 01/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)
  2. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Viewed: 09/01/13 | Rating: 3/5)


  1. This has been a divisive movie. Personally I loved this movie. Watching the painful world through this young child’s eyes as she tried to make sense of it was powerful yet so sad. Even the last scene (I won’t spoil it for others who may read this) is both sweet and devastating. Anyway, I’m done rambling. I can see where people may not connect with this film. It really worked for me though.

    • It’s interesting to read other people’s views on the film to see what they got out of the film. The last scene is very touching. Probably a highlight from the film for me.

  2. Awww. 🙁 I wish you had connected with it as well as I had, I really love it and got a lot out of it. True, it’s not the greatest narrative, but I thought it more than made up for it with its themes, characters and emotional impact!!

    • I just didn’t get the emotional impact. Sure, I felt for Hushpuppy. But there was just something missing which stopped me really getting involved in her little life.

  3. I’m with you, Jaina. Thought it was okay, but really nothing all that special that needed to be seen right away. Good review.

    • Glad to hear that there are others out there who have the same thoughts on this film as me. Figured my POV was pretty out of line!

  4. Same here! I also gave it 6/10 and didn’t connect with it, it didn’t have the kind of magic I like and relate to in stories like this. The score would be the only thing I’d nominate.

    • Magic was very lacking. I felt like they were trying to force the magic with mixing some of the fantasy elements in there. Just didn’t work.

  5. Films are so personal that not everyone is going to get the same thing out of it, even if you appreciate parts of it. I haven’t seen this yet but I’m curious whether I’d love it as much as everyone else.

    • I’ll look out for your review when you do get round to it. Films are very personal things. Though I do wish I had loved this film.

  6. I’ve heard a lot of buzz with this movie on the movie blogs. BUT…I don’t remember seeing any TV commercials on it. Apparently, that little girl got nominated for an Oscar, uh?

    I’m sorry to hear that it kinda fell flat for you. I figured since it was getting so much buzz, I thought everybody would love it. I guess not. At least you are being true to yourself and not going with the herd.

    • I knows what I like and this wasn’t quite in that like column. Appreciated column maybe. Not quite liked.

  7. Gutted. Tihs was easily in my top ten of last year (not that I have written one) but I can understand why it might not touch everyone like it touched me.

    • I’m a little gutted myself! With all the hype and bloggers loving it, I thought I’d be in that circle too!

  8. We do seem have the same taste in movies since I also wasn’t crazy about it. It has some wonderful acting and as a first movie it’s good, but I don’t praise it as everyone else seems to do…

    • As a first movie it’s very impressive. But just don’t quite get all the hype that it’s got surrounding it.

  9. I’ve yet to see this and thankfully I don’t have loads of people telling me how awesome it is – because like you, constantly hearing how good something is usually means I won’t think so. There are so many films released in the past few years that I’ve really wanted to love but have been disappointed by because so many people built them up. (The first one that comes to mind is ‘Star Trek XI’…)

    • The hype is very hard to avoid some times. I remember hearing about this so early on in the year. Months for the hype to build, unfortunately.

  10. I was curious if the same feeling would happen to me watching it. I still have yet to see it, but when I do, I honestly expect to feel about the same as you. Time will tell. Thanks for the honest review! Do you think her performance was Oscar-nom worthy then? or no?

    • She’s fantastic in the role, but I’m a bit on the fence as to whether she should have been nominated. When you’re so young, I think certain things come easier to you. And looking at recent interviews and the sort, it looks like she was playing a role that was very close to herself.

      Of course, I could be very wrong, just not sure it’s quite Oscar-nom worthy.

  11. I quite liked this movie and it was very poignant at times but I can definitely see how it could lose some people. I think the filmmaker who did this was a bit too enamored with his editing, I also wasn’t that impressed with the whole “humongous beasts rampaging the countryside” allegory. The movie could have done without this and been just as compelling.

    • Think the metaphors could have been handled with a bit more subtlety, yes. For sure. Amazing first film, there’s no doubt about that. Just missed the mark with me.

  12. I didn’t like this movie that much too, which is a bit disappointing me because it was one of the movie I anticipated in 2012. I loved the girl’s innocent and raw performance, but not much else. So, I agree with you!

  13. Ah, bummer to hear you didn’t enjoy this one so much. I really liked this film, though I have to admit I am surprised at all of its Oscar nominations. Really impressive stuff to see so many first-timers get nominated, namely the director and young Wallis.

  14. Jaina there were parts of this film that I enjoyed. However, parts of the film just rubbed me the wrong way.

    Even with its flaws I was still amazed by the performance of Wallis.

  15. Your not alone. While I can appreciate what the movie accomplished (first time actors working with a director on his first feature film), I didn’t really love it. When one of my friends and I were discussing the worst parenting on screen this year, I wholeheartedly recommended Beasts. It was painful to watch at times.

  16. It’s interesting to see a lukewarm review of this film in the midst of a flood of excellent reviews. I’m guessing by your words you do not agree with the noms it received for the Academy Awards.

    I’ll probably get to it myself, but it won’t be until it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray.

    Good review

  17. I just got around to watching this last night and thought I’d come back and see your review… I went in not really knowing anything apart from the very basic plot (as in, the one sentence synopsis on IMDb) and while it meant I had no preconeptions based on reviews or opinions of other people, I think it meant I spent a lot of the film wondering where it was going. The answer being nowhere, really. It was certainly a very meandering plot, and considering it was one of the shortest (the shortest possibly?) of the Best Picture noms and STILL felt like not a lot happened, I do wonder if it might have made a better short film.

    I think I probably would have given it a 3/5, too. Because it did look beautiful and had its moments – right at the start when she cracked out the flame thrower thingy to light the stove I gasped at what she was doing when she was so small, but that was one of the few times I genuinely worried for her. I was quite passive about the rest of it!

    • Passive is definitely a word I’d use for my thoughts towards Hushpuppy too. Sure I felt for her, but not in an “OMG You POOR CHILD!” sort of way. I thought I was just being harsh!

      Would have made a MUCH better short film. I’d have been more engaged if it had been I think.

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