In a frenzy of whishing, thrashing impressionistic fragments, we are introduced to the unique Southern Louisiana community known as “The Bathtub.” Spending time here, amongst the crumbling, ramshackle homes, impoverished mud-strewn yards, and rising floodwaters is a rather punishing experience, the distractingly agitated camerawork not helping matters. It’s a relief, then, that our protagonist is a fierce-willed and imaginative young girl named Hushpuppy, who guides us around the area with equal parts wonder and melancholic longing. Her inner monologues are laden with existentialism, her coping mechanisms for the roughness around her primarily constructed of mythical stories and beliefs in the balance of the natural world. She is an absorbing character to spend time with, and what makes her journey so special to watch is the unpredictable and emotional way it unfolds. Despite a saggy, repetitious middle section and a disingenuously “uplifting” ending, this is powerful and courageous work that brings to life a truly original vision.