Beasts of the Southern Wild is pure magic. It’s poetry on film. The story of several poor families living in desperate times on the bayou just past the levee that these dwellers call “The Bathtub.” There are so many small details and nicknames that add to the allure of BOTSW. Hushpuppy is motherless and cared for, barely, by her violent father, who she doesn’t fear one bit. When high tide and a freak storm challenge everyone’s way of life, Hushpuppy shows an unbridled strength and courage unmatched by the adults in her community. An explosion, mythical beasts traveling from melting polar ice caps in the arctic, and a little girl standing up to all gigantic creatures, both of legend and reality, ensue. It’s an obvious metaphor for the impossibly difficult life she’s endured through such a young age. In the end, Hushpuppy has to deal with yet another tragedy but does so with the strength of an army. The film features one of the most emotional closing scenes I’ve ever seen. I’ve been putting this one off for weeks, but you shouldn’t. It’s an absolute rare gem of our dying American independent cinema. Nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis is nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her role at Hushpully in the film and deservedly so.