The movie, which tells a surreal tale of a bayou community known as “the Bathtub” threatened with destruction, hardly celebrates reckless hedonism. Rather, it forces us to try on a new worldview in the hopes that we permanently expand our own.
My wife and I saw Beasts a couple weeks ago, and we both loved it. Besides the fantastic performance of Quvenzhane Wallis, the movie, as a whole, was starkly fresh—the kind I’ve not seen in a movie theater since Synecdoche, New York. The “poor” people depicted in Beasts are anything but: they are content and happy with the pleasures they have, with the community they’ve created. If anything, the plot, which centers on the slow exodus of everyone but the core characters, underscores this point even more.
Beasts reminded me of the criminally underrated Where the Wild Things Are, another film with a sharp focus on childhood. (In fact, a good essay could be written taking Beasts, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Tree of Life, and looking at how they all focus on childhood.)
Anyway, you should go see Beasts if you can. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth the price of admission.