Saturday, August 4, 2012


Once, there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub.

Watch the movie, and that line makes sense.

The movie works best as a window into a seldom seen community. The Bathtub is a small bayou community that has more holidays than the whole rest of the world put together. They live kinda in squalor, with bad health and lots of drinking, but party all the time. They're truly a "live for the moment" community. But sometimes they just don't fit into the larger world. Storms threaten to submerge the bathtub at any moment. Global warming is causing the southern ice cap to melt and vicious metaphors called "aurochs" to go on the attack. Plus Hushpuppy's daddy has got a heart disease and isn't long for this world, so he's got to teach her everything she needs to survive once he's gone.

Hushpuppy is very much the soul of the movie, and little Quvenzhané Wallis does a fantastic job. And the whole Bathtub community is so vividly and lovingly portrayed that you can't help but like them. Even when rescue workers are trying to give them medical treatment and they'd rather go back to the Bathtub and live out their final days, I sympathized more with them than the people trying to save their lives.

Not that everything is perfect in this movie. The aurochs were kind of silly and a distraction (I understand they were there as a metaphor of outside forces--i.e., environmental change--threatening the existence of the bathtub. They were just kind of silly.) And the detour to the floating catfish shack full of prostitutes was just...weird (I know, it's about Hushpuppy's search for he mother. It was just...weird.) But as a window into a seldom seen community, it works beautifully.

Running Time: 93 minutes
My Total Minutes: 295,788

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