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.