Beasts of the Southern Wild - Roger Ebert

You can make "Beasts of the Southern Wild" into an allegory of anything you want. It is far too detailed and specific to fit easily into general terms. The Bathtub is this place in this time, and how can it "stand for" anything else? This film is a remarkable creation, imagining a self-reliant community without the safety nets of the industrialized world. Someday they will run out of gasoline for their outboard motors, and then they will do — well, whatever people did before they needed gasoline.


Review: Emotional 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' is extraordinary - Los Angeles Times

[Hushpuppy] is the film's central narrator and the dialogue the writers have given her reaches a level of poetic balladry that nearly sings of grit and determination. That tone is matched by the music. Composer Dan Romer and Zeitlin collaborated to create a more ethereal Cajun sound, as flavorful and lively as ever, but somehow softened by its orchestral seasoning. The Bathtub itself comes at us from ground level, a patchwork of scavenged tin and wood rising out of the mud. It's all a little larger than life as seen from Hushpuppy's point of view. Director of photography Ben Richardson, whose work drew special notice at Sundance, creates an energy field around Hushpuppy. The camera was hand-held but steady as a rock and the result is a lyrical grace that turns detritus and rot into things of beauty.

Read the complete review at LATimes.

Untamed, Extraordinary, Exquisite 'Beasts' - Wall Street Journal

In this season of serial letdowns, so many movies provoke the same sense of sour bemusement. Why did they ever get made? Didn't anyone know how bad they were from the start? Then there is "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which provokes wonderment pure and simple. How did it ever get made? Did the people who financed and created it know how magical and piercingly beautiful it would be? They couldn't have known at the outset. Benh Zeitlin's debut feature evokes life in a surpassingly strange corner of Louisiana through the ecstatic spirit of a 6-year-old black girl named Hushpuppy. There's no trace of calculation, only artistic ambitions and hopes that have come to fruition in the year's finest film thus far. Read the whole thing here.