January 5, 2013
This film is a critics favorite, making it into many yearend top 10 lists. Of course, the positive reviews made me want to watch it. However, from the first scene, you will already realize that this is not going to be an easy movie to watch. It is a story of a father and his precocious daughter caught in a tough life in Louisiana's poverty-stricken bayou area called "The Bathtub." When a big storm (Hurricane Katrina?) devastates their community, their already upside-down life goes into a further tumble.
The lead actors here are not really professional actors. The father Wink is Dwight Henry, a baker by trade. The daughter Hushpuppy is 5- year old Quvenzhane Wallis. There really seemed to be no acting in this film. Everything had gripping reality, as if they were actual proud residents of that miserable community. Ms. Wallis, now 8 years old, is high on the list of being nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, and I would not be surprised if she will be.
I cannot say I liked this film. I do not exactly find it uplifting or inspiring. It is just a reality check for everyone who forgets that people actually live in such abject conditions in America. This is the unknown America devoid of high-tech conveniences of life, and we see it here in the eyes of an impressionable, yet strangely jaded child. Hushpuppy's vivid visions of collapsing icecaps and rampaging aurochs, as how she visualizes the fury of the storm, may not exactly make viewing this film any easier, but her raw emotion is all out there for us to feel.