Benh Zeitlin's anticipated debut feature Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Magical realist fable is imbued with fresh, visionary view

One of the year’s most anticipated and original projects, Beasts of the Southern Wild is building a groundswell of interest on the back of Sundance and Cannes appearances, and looks likely to get heavy exposure throughout the awards season. The debut feature from director Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild was adapted from a stage-play called Juicy and Delicious written by Zeitlin with Lucy Alibar. The story focuses on Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), a six-year-old who finds herself struggling for survival in a community decimated by floods. The health of her father Wink (Dwight Henry) is declining, and Hushpuppy believes that melting polar ice-caps are about to release a race of pre-historical creatures known as aurochs. Hushpuppy’s epic journey in search of her mother might sound like a children’s fantasy, but Beasts of the Southern Wild is certainly not for kids, instead offering a magic-realist fable with a fresh, visionary view. Accusations of poverty porn may form part of a backlash, but the strong word-of-mouth so far indicates that Beasts of the Southern Wild is likely to be one of 2012’s most discussed and appreciated releases.

On release from Fri 19 Oct.

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Trailer

Beasts of the Southern Wild

  • 5 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 1h 31min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Benh Zeitlin
  • Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly
  • UK release: 19 October 2012

Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Wallis) and her ailing father (Henry) live in the Louisiana backwaters until a violent storm throws their lives into turmoil. Henry and Wallis are non-professional actors who inhabit their roles with astonishing ease and conviction, and the film is bracingly original and beguiling.

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