She is the film's central narrator and the dialogue the writers have given her reaches a level of poetic balladry that nearly sings of grit and determination. That tone is matched by the music. Composer Dan Romer and Zeitlin collaborated to create a more ethereal Cajun sound, as flavorful and lively as ever, but somehow softened by its orchestral seasoning.
The Bathtub itself comes at us from ground level, a patchwork of scavenged tin and wood rising out of the mud. It's all a little larger than life as seen from Hushpuppy's point of view. Director of photography Ben Richardson, whose work drew special notice at Sundance, creates an energy field around Hushpuppy. The camera was hand-held but steady as a rock and the result is a lyrical grace that turns detritus and rot into things of beauty.