Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Gotta Take Care of Mine

Six year-old Hushpuppy lives with her father, Wink, in a dystopian Louisiana coastal community called The Bathtub.  On the wrong side of the levee, Hushpuppy and the people in her community celebrate as many holidays as they want while also preparing for a time when ice caps will melt, primordial beasts will be released back into the world, and flood waters will take over The Bathtub.  If it sounds fantastical, it is.  But Beasts of the Southern Wild is the type of film where the fantastical could be entirely real.  Hushpuppy and her father have a bittersweet relationship--in their hardscrabble world where Hushpuppy’s mother just up and swam away, Wink tries to prepare Hushpuppy for basic survival, telling her she’s the man and to show her guns in one breath and, in the other breath, telling her to keep her girlie things out of his house.  It’s hard to tell whether Beasts of the Southern Wild takes place in the past, present or future, but it is certain that Hushpuppy is a heroine for the ages.  Although faced with very real emotional and physical obstacles, she rises to the occasion and when she faces the eye of the beast, she speaks her truth, “I gotta take care of mine.” Some who look at this film may immediately be reminded of the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, may think it’s a commentary on the perils of global warming, or a brutal story of the perseverance of society’s “have-nots.”  But at its heart, it’s about family, community, and home.  The best and most priceless things in life.

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