Beasts of the Southern Wild
What is this sad, hopeful and totally wonderful world director Behn Zeitlin has created in Beasts of the Southern Wild? A young girl named Hushpuppy (an astounding and preternaturally gifted young actress Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her ailing father Wink (an affecting Dwight Henry) in separate mobile homes in a backwash region of a low-lying coastal city that is threatened by winds, water and wild boar. To say this film is surprising is such an understatement that I'm a bit embarraassed to use it. But it is such a refreshing cinematic experience, totally devoid of cliche and sentiment but absorbing, heartbreaking and uplifting. It's a revelation that walks the line between stark reality and magical realism. See it at once.