We experience a Katrina-like Louisiana flood through the eyes of perceptive 6-year-old Hushpuppy (amazing debut by Quvenzhané Wallis). Her friends and family are beyond poor, sometimes living on a raft made of automobile parts. Yet what resonates isn't class divide or politics. The story of a small community that looks out for each other gains emotional power with a unique outsider experience of modern America. Never a downer, alive with sequences that pack in joyous moment after joyous moment.