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Beasts of the Southern Wild


There is no doubt that art is subjective.

I'll always remember being at the MOMA in New York City, standing in front of a huge 10' x 10' Jackson Pollock painting that was a white canvas with one drop of eggshell color paint that was dripped down the right side.

As I stood there thinking "what a joke" a man and his family walked up and he told them in breathless, excited tones that this painting was his favorite one in the entire museum because of all the emotion it conveyed.

It's the same feeling I have after watching BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, a Best Picture nominee, Cannes Winner, Sundance Winner....on and on. Seriously?

9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis is admittedly very good as Hushpuppy, a young girl living in the devastating squalor of "The Bathtub" outside the New Orleans levees.

Her mother is dead and her father lives in a trailer next to hers, both seemingly part of the muddy hell they call home.

When her father falls ill and reappears after days of leaving her alone in the swamp, he is irrational. Their "teacher" tells of a great storm coming that will level civilization and leave great prehistoric beasts roaming the land that will eat Children whole.

Soon, the storm starts and their world is destroyed by the rising waters.

Am I supposed to be stirred by the magical spirit and brilliant allegory to...what? Katrina? Civilization? Global Warming?

I find nearly every adult's actions in the Bathtub borderline abusive. When medical staffs come to evacuate and help the children, the film treats them like invading Nazi's from which an escape must be planned.

Like the Pollock painting, I think this is one of those films that strikes all the right notes of something that is so incoherent, so emotionally overwrought, so vivid in its depiction of the poor that surely it must be an important piece of art.

Like the Jackson painting, I would just dub it as S I C.

Self Important Claptrap that earns a D.

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