Beasts of the Southern Wild has been wildly praised in many parts.  We went to see it despite some trepidation about what we’d heard about a 6 year old girl trying to raise herself in conditions of abysmal poverty.

I can’t give it a review here because within 30 minutes I had to leave.  Not because of child cruelty but because of intense vertigo induced by shaky camera work and intensely loud music.

Vertigo is no fun in a dark movie.  The first time it crept into me was watching Mad, Hot, Ballroom, a sweet movie about teaching grade school kids to dance ballroom.  After a few minutes of the camera swinging around them as they were swinging around the floor the ceiling began to spin, as after too much alcohol and a none too stable bed.   It creeps up on you with a little upper stomach tightening, then a clear feeling of nausea, followed by rising warmth under the eyes and behind the neck.  Perspiration follows.  Of course everyone on both sides is glued to their seats, and I hate to interrupt them.  I close my eyes but by now the rapid changes of shadow and light through my eyelids continues to make me nauseous, even heightens it.  Deep breathing helps — for about two breaths.  I hold my eyes shut for about two minutes. The sound is raucous and of course it’s the inner ear where the mischief is being made.  I  open my eyes to see if things have settled down.  The camera is rushing to the left past a crowd of people rushing to the right.  It sweeps around to follow them,  the focus changes from fuzzy-more to fuzzy-less.  The music is pounding.  My saliva is thickening.  Time to go.

I stand, lift the seat and grope for my hat.  The row begin to gather in its legs.  Some one sighs, loudly.  Excuse me.  Excuse me.

Even the lobby is too hot.  The breeze outside and a cool beer rolled against my cheeks settles me down.  My wife follows me by not much.  The sound and motion she could deal with, but not the little girl trying to be her own mother.

So this is not a review, but a report.

There are plenty of reviews, like RottenTomatoes, Internet Movie Database, The New Yorker…..

If you’re subject to cam queasiness I recommend the back row, ear plugs and a seat near the aisle. And if you are, we aren’t alone.  Plenty of people can’t stand this modern notion that to show excitement or agitation the camera has to have the jitters.

Roger Ebert and friends on the Bourne movies.  Shaky Cam even has an entry in Wikipedia.  Movie Fans on Hand-held camera aversion.

Vertigo rating, from 1-5 is 5!  If you’re susceptible wait for a small screen.