This is the best independent film of 2012. Previously unknown talent Quvenzhané Wallis plays the character Hushpuppy. She lives pretty much on her own in the bayous of Louisiana, in a river delta area called the "bathtub" due to the constant flooding. Her mother long gone and her father a drunk, she is left pretty much to her own devices and develops her unique world view from her constant exposure to nature and animals. She sees all thing as inter-connected and part of the tapestry of life. Her views are very mature for a six-year old.
Life on the bayou is tentative at best and everything becomes threatened in the face of a massive hurricane that is approaching. Hushpuppy imagines the forces of nature as gigantic pre-historic beasts that are, in her imagination, raised up from their long-frozen state in the extreme north to attack the bayou. Hushpuppy's father tells her not to worry and he challenges the storm by shooting a rifle into the air.
Hushpuppy is impressed by her father's courage and believes him when he tells her that nothing can harm them. Yet the storm is coming and those that do not evacuate are left in the aftermath barely alive with everything also completely under water. The few survivors gather together and hatch a plan to explode a hole in the concrete wall surrounding the area so that the water can drain away. They succeed in doing this but all that does is leave the mud exposed with all the dead fish and animals who have drowned rotting in the sun.
The police force them to leave and Hushpuppy's father is taken to the hospital where it becomes clear he is dying. Hushpuppy, now cleaned up and forced to wear an uncomfortable dress, has to come to terms with the fact that both the bayou and her father are dying.
Best part of story, including ending:
Quvenzhané Wallis is exceptional as the little girl. She has wisdom way beyond her years.
Best scene in story:
I like the fantasy scene with the big beasts that are in the imagination of the little girl, because they are symbolic of the powerful forces of nature that are not to be controlled by people.
Opinion about the main character:
The resilience of the little girl is amazing. Even though life on the bayou is hard, she makes the very best of it and her imagination helps her deal with all the challenges.