From the moment I saw a dishevelled, barefoot white woman marching down a street with her diaper-less baby boy in her arms beside her three grade school age daughters looking as if they were going war I knew I what would come next; an explosive Jerry Springer-esque fight between her and another nameless woman. She was bested in battle which sets up how the viewer should perceive this lady: a loser. I don’t think that one word is enough to describe the extreme nature of her backwardness, the aura of trailer trash that she exudes really strikes at you. The film would be a comedy if not for the fact that four innocents, her children are the sufferers of her neglect. I felt a twinge of rage seeing how they were fed. Sugar, a bag of chips and a cup of soda are not the best diet for growing kids. The fact that you see them scavenge for half eaten ribs like a pack of wild dogs will induce an anger, a sense of indignation that I personally have not felt watching any film before. Her neglect culminates in a wasp nearly stinging the infant inside his mouth which would have probably led to his death. It’s a tense scene that will have you holding your breath the entire time. All this tension and all this worry you have for the unfortunate children and all this rage you feel towards their (in name only) mother is laughed at when the credits roll. The song of the ending credits is upbeat and catchy. It reminds you of how this woman deals with her problems: she dances and sings a bit, pretends they don’t exist and keeps right on doing what’s she’s doing. Well, that’s Andrea Arnold’s Wasp.
You just know those kids are completely screwed.