Reviewer Rating:


This powerful movie tells a story from the perspective of six-year-old Hushpuppy, who lives with her father “Wink” in their southern Louisiana Bayou community called “the Bathtub”. It follows Hushpuppy as life as she knows it in the Bayou starts to fall apart. The Bathtub is hit by a hurricane due to the ice caps melting, which also releases ancient arctic beasts that parallel her journey as they make their way south. The beasts are not that prevalent in the movie but seem to symbolize the forces of life that Hushpuppy encounters and embodies. As her father falls increasingly more ill, Hushpuppy sets on a mission to save the Bathtub and find her mother.
Stunning is a good word for the performances of both Quvenzhané Wallis (Hushpuppy) and her father Wink (played by Dwight Henry) who was not previously an actor, but a bakery owner across the street from the casting office in New Orleans. The movie was nominated for four Academy awards including best Actress for Quvenzhané Wallis, making her the youngest nominee in history. I sometimes wondered if they didn’t find this child naturally living her life the way she does in the movie: it’s hard to believe she is acting. The characters and storyline are grounded in social-realism, but there are bits of magic woven in throughout the movie to create a surreal and engaging environment.  Although the movie packs an emotional punch, it also left me with a feeling of joy and empowerment.

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