Beasts of the Southern Wild

Theatrical Release: June 27, 2012
Beasts of the Southern Wild


A six-year-old girl from the southern Delta searches for her long-lost mother after her father falls ill and her world spins out of balance in the film from director Benh Zeitlin that took home the Grand Jury Prize and Best Cinematography award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. A harsh but loving father, Wink swore that his beloved daughter Hushpuppy would be prepared for the day he was no longer able to look after her. Little did Wink realize that day would come sooner than anyone suspected, and when illness strikes him down, nature runs amuck. As the soaring temperatures melt ice caps and the sea levels swell, a race of prehistoric beasts named the aurochs emerge to reclaim the planet. Meanwhile, as the apocalypse unfolds, determined Hushpuppy bravely sets out on a mission to locate the mother she’s never known.

Dove Review

Here is a movie which is realistic in its starkness and bleak surroundings. A young girl is raised by her dying father (leukemia) in horrible conditions in the bayou country. They deal with floods, hunger and poverty, not to mention agents coming to the island in helicopters to tell them they must evacuate. The Cajun culture is strong in the story and the people sail in a bath tub and floating shacks following an all-night downpour in which a girl’s father puts floating devices on her hands so she won’t drown. The father is hard on his daughter and we see that it is to toughen her up for when he is gone, but it is abusive toughness at times as he slaps her and yells at her. Yet her love for him is not questioned and they share some tender moments in the film. The young girl’s mother died years before.

Although the backbone of these characters is to be admired, the content of the film is not. It has strong language and some violent moments. It is definitely not a film which raises the spirits. Due to the strong language we are unable to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to the movie.

Content Description

Sex: A man ogles a woman briefly.
Language: GD-4; J-3; A-6; Slang for female genitalia and using it to say people were wimps-4; D-4; H-1; SOB-1; S-1; BS-1
Violence: A girl starts a fire with a blowtorch in the small kitchen area and it seems on purpose and the hut burns down; an explosion in the kitchen; a father slaps his daughter and yells at her; an animal is seen eating another animal; large animals are seen chasing a few people.
Drugs: Drinking by various characters in several scenes; a drunk man shoots his gun at the storm and pouring rain; a few characters become drunk.
Nudity: Cleavage; shirtless men; a woman wears a short dress and at one point her bare back is shown.
Other: A woman tells the kids all animals are made out of meat and they are too; girl says if dad doesn't return she will have to eat her underpants to survive; a girl imagines talking with her mother who died some time before; a girl tells her father she hopes he dies and then he falls over and nearly does die from a health issue but she runs for his medicine; a father shows his daughter had to "whack" a fish to kill it; dead animals float on water; a few arguments between a father and daughter; death and grief.


Company: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Writer: Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 91 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter