Director. Benh Zeitlin
Feat. Quvenzhané Wallis (Hushpuppy), Dwight Henry (Wink), Levy Easterly (Jean Battiste)
Fox Searchlight Pictures & Entertainment One, 2012
Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, at forgotten yet defiant bayou community called the Bathtub. Throughout the film, Wink's tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature begins to take turn. Temperatures rise and the ice caps melt unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. As the water begins rising, the aurochs begin to arrive, and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
Throughout the film Hushpuppy exemplifies an independent woman. In the beginning scenes you see Hushpuppy making dinner, which may seem typical but she is a six year old girl who also owns her own house. But one thing that grabbed my attention is how Hushpuppy and Troy from Crooklyn share similarities and differences. Hushpuppy is seen making dinner while talking to her “dead” mother in one of the opening scenes. In Crooklyn, Troy is seen picking her little brother’s hair like her mother used to do. They are doing different tasks, but they share a similarity - they took on the duties that they’re mother used to do before they passed away. This is great example of how these two films revolve around female protagonists. They also crave attention. Since Hushpuppy felt neglected by her father as he didn’t want to pay her any attention and wanted her to leave him alone, she decided to burn her house on fire [Right idea, but strange construction syntactically]. She did this because she knew Wink would have no choice but to look for her, meaning he would have to give her the attention she wanted. Troy would steal food, her brother’s collectable coins, and clean around the house so that she would receive attention from various crowds. Although they are seen doing very different actions to receive the attention they wanted they ultimately got the same end goal.
Although age is seen to limit a person’s level of wisdom, that was proven wrong by Hushpuppy. Throughout the film she provides insight of her wisdom through quote she makes throughout the film from third person point of view. There are two quotes she makes that show her biggest fear, to be forgotten.
“When daddy kill me I won't be forgotten. I'm recording my story for the scientists in the future. In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know: Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in The Bathtub.” “When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me lying around in invisible pieces. When I look too hard, it goes away. And when it all goes quiet, I see they are right here. I see that I'm a little piece in a big, big universe. And that makes things right. When I die, the scientists of the future, they're gonna find it all. They gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy, and she live with her daddy in the Bathtub.”
The reason I feel that her biggest fear is to be forgotten is because she constantly craves attention as well as not being alone, always wanting to be around her father despite his commands. But the quotes tell us she wants her story to be heard around the world. She’ll say little phrases and do certain actions throughout the film telling us that she wants to be heard and recognized.
Personally, I viewed the film as unorthodox in a good way. The plot and theme is certainly not typical but provides a whole new perspective on life of others who live off the grid as well as life in general. I would highly reccomend this film to anyone who is open-minded to new perspective and lacks appreciation of their life.