2012 Year in Review: The 10 Best Movies
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Without reviewing the reviews others wrote for Benh Zeitlin’s feature debut, it’s tough to resist the impulse to observe how many wrongheaded or at least snidely superficial dismissals it received even as it won accolades and established Zeitlin as a creative force to be reckoned with. Nevertheless, the movie is a wonderful, intimate tale of resilience and hope that feels as enchanting for its human touches as for its supernatural flourishes.
Featuring a showstopping performance by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy, the 8-year-old protagonist who helps keep a remote Southern community together after it’s waterlogged and all but eviscerated by a Katrina-style hurricane, the film has an unvarnished, handmade beauty that only appreciates as its story continues to unfold. Never condescending to its characters but merely chronicling their alternate sensitivity and stubbornness, recklessness and remarkable heroism, Zeitlin creates a vivid portrait of a community struggling to protect itself from the forces of modernity and nature in equal measures.