User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 262 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 262
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  1. Dec 6, 2012
    5
    After hearing so much buzz about this film, I am sad to say that I find this film very overrated. It's another movie where I find the director and the critics are making this the artsy film of the year but I find it all fartsy.
  2. Nov 27, 2012
    6
    This is a film that is very hard to unwrap in a short, written review. There is a lot to engage you and ponder after, and in that regard I think this is a film that I will revisit and talk about many years down the road. I was surprised at how little of the fantasy that I have heard so much about made up very little of this film. I do think this is probably a good thing, this movie at itsThis is a film that is very hard to unwrap in a short, written review. There is a lot to engage you and ponder after, and in that regard I think this is a film that I will revisit and talk about many years down the road. I was surprised at how little of the fantasy that I have heard so much about made up very little of this film. I do think this is probably a good thing, this movie at its heart is about poverty. It paints a very painful picture of the people who live in this area called The Bathtub. There are many layers to both the characters in this film and their story arcs. I believe the performances to a person were solid if not spectacular. I am reluctant to say that this film looks amazing, because the world that the director builds is so dreary and depressing. However he conveys this perfectly and to me that means this film looks amazing. As with a lot of movies it seems that in the last half hour the director is unsure of how to end his story, so some things end up going on that may make you shrug a bit. The scene with our protagonist on a boat is probably my favorite in the entire film and since this is very close to the end I think the story did a decent job of giving us something to hold on to. This is a must see and it will be interesting to see where this film maker goes from here. Expand
  3. Feb 9, 2013
    6
    I was excited to see the movie, as I had heard so much about the magic of the film. I love quirky movies that attempt to tell a story via a road less traveled. I think Beasts of the Southern Wild made a brave attempt to present something fresh, and Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppie is truly amazing giving a performance seldom seen at such a young age. When it came to the plot, I found itI was excited to see the movie, as I had heard so much about the magic of the film. I love quirky movies that attempt to tell a story via a road less traveled. I think Beasts of the Southern Wild made a brave attempt to present something fresh, and Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppie is truly amazing giving a performance seldom seen at such a young age. When it came to the plot, I found it fell a little short, and I never fully grasped the metaphor of the beasts. I wanted to give the movie every opportunity to pull me into the story line, but I never was. I found the supporting characters less interesting than I had hoped. I felt as if I had watched a documentary on Louisiana poverty rather than the magical story promised. Still, I would rather sit through a movie that attempts to break the standards of stale cinema and have them fail, than sit through the same ol' same ol'. Expand
  4. Aug 7, 2012
    5
    I expected a great deal from this film, based on all the rave reviews, but this movie just did not "grab" me. Hush Puppy (the little girl) was wonderful, but it was very difficult to really care about anybody else, including her father, because they mostly behaved badly, and were pretty much non-functional where their best interests were involved. The hand held camera, used throughout,I expected a great deal from this film, based on all the rave reviews, but this movie just did not "grab" me. Hush Puppy (the little girl) was wonderful, but it was very difficult to really care about anybody else, including her father, because they mostly behaved badly, and were pretty much non-functional where their best interests were involved. The hand held camera, used throughout, really turned me off. I felt like I was in a rocking boat most of the time. If that was the director's intention, he succeeded in that regard, to the overall detriment to the film. The plot had holes in it, especially concerning the travels of the whole Bathtub group to different locations throughout the film, their methods were not satisfactorily explained, as if the director just could not be bothered. My recommendation to anyone who is interested, is to wait for the DVD. Then you can turn it off if you have the same reaction that I did. Expand
  5. Aug 10, 2012
    5
    A metaphor for the cycle of life and coming to terms with our mortality, this film falls short and is not nearly as effective as it could be by portraying unsympathetic, self-destructive, frustrating characters.
  6. Jul 16, 2012
    4
    I wanted to like this movie. The reviews I read were glowing: a reaffirmation of the Black family. A tale of wonder. A feisty "dandelion haired" 6 year old Black girl struggling against the destructive power of a consumer power oriented real world. A tale of an unconventional father's love. The story of a "true loving community". What I saw was an attempt to portray abject and totalI wanted to like this movie. The reviews I read were glowing: a reaffirmation of the Black family. A tale of wonder. A feisty "dandelion haired" 6 year old Black girl struggling against the destructive power of a consumer power oriented real world. A tale of an unconventional father's love. The story of a "true loving community". What I saw was an attempt to portray abject and total squalor as heroic. A community of total drunks and mental misfits holding out against what?... adequate food, a dry roof, and medical care? The line between real and fantasy is blurred in this movie, but it appears to show the girl and her child friends, eating shrimp and crabs thrown onto the floor as they grovel in the spent shellfish shells. I wanted to cheer for her anti-establishment living arrangment, but opted instead to call DFACS. There are a few poetic scenes- the girl romping through the meadow, the girl holding up to her ear living things to apparently hear what they are saying... I have always been a died in the wool anti-establishment type, and I appreciate the idea of alternative communities...but these people lived like pigs. There is nothing heroic, nor worth protecting about their lifestyle. If you relish the idea of a drunk, mental father, dying of some un-named disease, mentoring his 6 year old daughter to survive alone after his passing, by instilling in her the idea that she is strong and fearless, while living in a tideland, in a hovel made out of scraps of sheet metal, then you will love this movie. Otherwise, you will ask the ticket taker for the telephone number for the nearest child protection agency. Expand
  7. Aug 2, 2012
    6
    I am a progressive liberal politically but this movie is a good reason why the far left is viewed as morally ambivalent. Let's show some poor Blacks and White Trash wallowing in misery and self destruction and let's say: "hey it's the systems fault.!, but that's O.K. cause we'll survive as cheerful mentally disturbed alcoholics in the wonderful culture of poverty " Oh yes and there's aI am a progressive liberal politically but this movie is a good reason why the far left is viewed as morally ambivalent. Let's show some poor Blacks and White Trash wallowing in misery and self destruction and let's say: "hey it's the systems fault.!, but that's O.K. cause we'll survive as cheerful mentally disturbed alcoholics in the wonderful culture of poverty " Oh yes and there's a cute little kid who is plucky and self sufficient in spite of all her travails. Then let's show their White rescuers as out of touch bureaucrats. Don't you go rescuing those beached whales they're doing just fine. Expand
  8. Jul 11, 2012
    6
    Beasts of the Southern Wild is a difficult movie to review. Is it well done? Except for the horrible constant moving camera, yes. Images of the film will stick in your mind for a long time after the closing credits. Is it enjoyable? Well, I certainly enjoyed the spirit of Hush Puppy, the six year old played by Quvenzhané Wallis, who is cute as a button throughout. The way she isBeasts of the Southern Wild is a difficult movie to review. Is it well done? Except for the horrible constant moving camera, yes. Images of the film will stick in your mind for a long time after the closing credits. Is it enjoyable? Well, I certainly enjoyed the spirit of Hush Puppy, the six year old played by Quvenzhané Wallis, who is cute as a button throughout. The way she is being raised by her alcoholic father is not pleasant to watch at all. Living in separate quarters by herself, poverty, alcoholism, illiteracy, death. It doesn't seem to phase her as it is the only life she has known. The film is a very slow paced slice of life. It's only about an hour and a half long but seemed longer to me due to the pacing. I was glad I saw it. I would give it a couple of points higher if I didn't have to put up with the constantly moving camera. Expand
  9. Jan 11, 2013
    4
    Beasts of the Southern Wild has some atrocious dialogue and seem to be slightly better when nobody spoke. Its is a film that doesn't let the powerful moments sink in and make any impact. The one thing it does have going for it is its powerful and excellent music.
  10. BKM
    Jan 7, 2013
    5
    Granted, this is definitely a unique film but it's also a frustrating one. Quvenzhané Wallis is terrific as Hushpuppy as is Dwight Henry as her father, but the movie they are stuck with is an incoherent gumbo of poetic narration (the kind that Terrence Malick utilizes to far greater affect), symbolism and social commentary. In the end, it's difficult to tell what the movie isGranted, this is definitely a unique film but it's also a frustrating one. Quvenzhané Wallis is terrific as Hushpuppy as is Dwight Henry as her father, but the movie they are stuck with is an incoherent gumbo of poetic narration (the kind that Terrence Malick utilizes to far greater affect), symbolism and social commentary. In the end, it's difficult to tell what the movie is trying to say but that is not the same thing as ambiguity or complexity. Expand
  11. Feb 1, 2013
    5
    Reminded me of Léolo but not nearly as good. And unlike Léolo, I am not really sure what the point is. That being said, the actors really perform well.
  12. Jan 16, 2013
    4
    The lead actress is talented, but not nearly as gifted in her performance as say, Kiki in, akilah and the bee. That whole hand held camera effect detracts substantially from what meager enjoyment there is to be had from this film. There is scant explanation as to why any group of people would remain doggedly committed to a life devoid of virtually anything resembling normalicy or aThe lead actress is talented, but not nearly as gifted in her performance as say, Kiki in, akilah and the bee. That whole hand held camera effect detracts substantially from what meager enjoyment there is to be had from this film. There is scant explanation as to why any group of people would remain doggedly committed to a life devoid of virtually anything resembling normalicy or a modicum of material pleasure, particularly when it exposes them to catastrophic weather in a predictable manner, repeatedly. Overall, though a noble attempt, it fails because of the gaps, disjointedness, and absurdities that abound. I could detect no overriding theme that conveyed anything of substance in this film. Expand
  13. Sep 1, 2014
    5
    As strange as it is, it's a spectacular tale; told by a gifted young girl, Quvenzhane Wallis. Despite the spectacle, Beasts of the Souther Wild often forgets a purpose and becoming an unnecessary waste of your time.
  14. Jan 24, 2013
    5
    It manages to make good use of its post-Katrina locations and has a convincing performance from a child, but its defiant human spirit ethos feels twee and cartoonish, characters remain paper-thin, the narration is just a lot of homespun nonsense and many scenes feel aimless. If you are going to reformulate the experiences of survivors of Katrina into a magical realist fable you need toIt manages to make good use of its post-Katrina locations and has a convincing performance from a child, but its defiant human spirit ethos feels twee and cartoonish, characters remain paper-thin, the narration is just a lot of homespun nonsense and many scenes feel aimless. If you are going to reformulate the experiences of survivors of Katrina into a magical realist fable you need to give characters a proper voice. The strength and defiance of real people, a spirit the director evidently wishes to capture and inspire with needs to find an expression beyond the vague narration, upbeat folksy music and simple lyricism that this film features. In fact, the film's simplicity is really best suited to a young audience - judged as a kid's film, it is an impressive feat for a first time film-maker. Expand
  15. Jan 11, 2013
    5
    This could have been so much greater if it wasn't so full of itself. I'm all for ambition and pushing boundaries, but if you're going to do so...don't do so haphazardly. It's a shame because the characters and their situation is great story material, and the film is very well acted. But it's all intermingled with a heavy dose of metaphorical bullsh*t and artsy nonsense that, in my opinion,This could have been so much greater if it wasn't so full of itself. I'm all for ambition and pushing boundaries, but if you're going to do so...don't do so haphazardly. It's a shame because the characters and their situation is great story material, and the film is very well acted. But it's all intermingled with a heavy dose of metaphorical bullsh*t and artsy nonsense that, in my opinion, doesn't land. And it really stopped this movie from being gold. Sometimes, directors should just keep it simple. This is a good example of that in my humble opinion. Expand
  16. Sep 30, 2013
    6
    It may get a little bit too meta and strange for its own good, but "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" certainly doesn't care as it delivers a thoughtfully verite style overlayed upon an unconventionally winsome story and environment.
  17. Jan 12, 2013
    5
    Poetic. The Oscars brought me to this film; I was curious to see this film after its 4 nominations, and still am after having watched the film. There are some brilliant elements on display here; the movie delves into some deep aspects of survival, family, home, and civilization. The film also features some intriguing imagery and symbolism, but those things combined didn't come together asPoetic. The Oscars brought me to this film; I was curious to see this film after its 4 nominations, and still am after having watched the film. There are some brilliant elements on display here; the movie delves into some deep aspects of survival, family, home, and civilization. The film also features some intriguing imagery and symbolism, but those things combined didn't come together as I was led to believe. The film was not emotionally resonant at all (in my opinion). An ambitious directorial debut from Benh Zeitlin, but I do not understand the Oscar nominations (at all). I wasn't impressed by Quvenzhane Wallis's performance. Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 19, 2012
    80
    Beasts of the Southern Wild is a vividly poetic and maybe even therapeutic response to one of the most painful and mortifying episodes in modern American history, second only to 9/11.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Oct 3, 2012
    100
    Beautiful, funny, timely and tender, this is the American arthouse movie of the year.
  3. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Oct 1, 2012
    80
    Despite its hard-scrabble setting, eco-gloominess and dystopian story, this dark fairytale is engagingly vivid and life-affirming. An ambitious love letter to a Louisiana way of life that's being literally washed away.