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Critic's Pick: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

12:15 PM PDT, July 26, 2012

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Sometimes something small can slip away unnoticed. Don’t let that happen with the stunning and startling indie drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Starring tiny Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy, a 6-year-old who lives with her father (Dwight Henry) in a Louisiana swamp called The Bathtub. Her’s is a life beset by storms – her father’s failing heart, the coming hurricane, the unrelenting poverty. But this fierce young warrior rises above it all with a spirit so independent and an imagination so vivid that her world -- from the muddy earth she walks to prehistoric aurochs that somehow rise up again -- is so vividly portrayed by the actress, and so artistically rendered by the film, it all becomes believable. This is a film with such a pure heart and an authentic soul that any tears are well earned. First time writer/director Benh Zeitlin and co-writer Lucy Alibar, have voices so distinctive, so unexpected, so passionate, they have created one of those rare films that reminds just how powerful and how potent cinema at its best can be – Betsy Sharkey