The movie explores subtle hints that family is all important, and the not so subtle topics of child mistreatment, global climate change and its effects on the poor and the female spirit.
All of this is very well and good, and it can be a hard movie to watch, you will detest the way this five year old is treated. The thing is for all the topics covered and the overall story, none of it really matters, its not that good, either story wise, script wise or overall production...... but the acting performances are utterly mind blowing.
Quvenzhane Wallis, at 9 years old is the youngest Nominee for Best Actress in Oscars 85 year history, and this movie is carried by her unbelievable performance. She is emotive, clear and at points delivers a script that appears to have been written for a 16 year old playing a 14 year old, it has some good lines, not many, but its the delivery that hits home.
Director Benh Zeitlin gives this a very independent feel and it works in focusing the viewers attention where it deserves to be, on the talent. Dwight Henry plays with conviction a part that must have had its difficulties, his character is not a good father for the most part, and as difficult as it is to watch, it must have been harder to actually pull off. The story is mediocre considering its agenda, but you are left with the striking feeling that if it had been any better then the performance you just witness wouldn't have been allowed to be all that it was.
I can critique the flaws this movie has, and there are many, but they all pale in comparison to the skill of that little girl, her performance alone makes this a movie worth seeing, and as much as i disliked the story, I loved her performance. Who would have thought, at 9 years old, nominee and a deserving one at that.