Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Based on the one act play, "Juicy and Delicious" by Lucy Alibar
Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Gina Montana, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper and Levy Easterly
This movie has flown completely under the radar for me. I never heard of the film until Michael from the Cinebanter praised this movie on a recent episode. I heard all of this positive feedback on different podcasts. The film has a Metacritic score of 86. I didn't want to go into this movie with high expectations, because I was disappointed with the summer slate lately. I wanted to shout this movie's name to the rooftops and not the the annoying people behind me.
Six year old Hushpuppy (Wallis) is living in "The Bathtub" neighborhood, which resembles the marshes of southern Louisiana with her father, Wink (Henry). Her mother is out of the pictures and she desperately tries to find out where she disappeared to. The neighborhood is like a shanty town filled with garbage, dead animals and no clean water. One day, her father disappeared only to appear in a hospital gown. Wink wants to teach Hushpuppy about the ways of survival in order live after he is gone.
I didn't know what to expect from this film, because I went into it without seeing a trailer. I heard people were making comparisons to Where the Wild Things Are to Slumbog Shit-in-there. Those are only surface observations. The actors have never acted before. It made the experience very raw and emotional.
The performances were truly extraordinary Quvenzhané Wallis gave so much of herself in this. Hushpuppy is trying to survive in a world where you have to conform to what a normal home life is. She trying to find this material energy when her drunk of a father tries to toughen her up. Dwight Henry's character, Wink, is not suppose to be likable, but he is trying all he can to help Hushpuppy survive. It may not be the best way, it's the only way he knows.
I want to touch on something that I mentioned in the opening paragraph. I saw this film at a matinée screening where there were less than ten people in the theater, including myself. I found myself being constantly annoyed by an old couple behind talking in normal voice behind me during the movie. Another person kept kicking the back of chair until I had to move away from them. Lastly, there was thumping dance music comes from an auditorium that was showing Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum. I was getting really pissed off, but images that I saw hooked me in. By the end of the movie, I was floored, galvanized to my seat, emotional, verge of tears. I was on an euphoric high. If this is in your city, see it immediately.