"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (2010)
Dwight Henry (Wink) and Quvenzhane Wallis (Hushpuppy) on the set of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The film was about Hushpuppy’s quest to save the shacks and shanties of her impoverished bayou community, called the Bathtub, from environmental and existential disaster. Despite being heralded as one of the best on the art-house circuit this summer, the movie was not without criticism. While the film’s young heroine, strikingly imaginative visual design and themes of collective care and solidarity present an exhilarating image of the dispossessed and forgotten, an inescapable air of romanticism pervades the enterprise. Too often, the citizens of the Bathtub are presented as the picturesque, exotic creatures of the film’s title, rather than fully realized human beings. What’s more, the movie’s idea of a happy ending is for Hushpuppy and her friends to stay where they are — ferociously independent, yes, but still isolated and marginalized.