The Oscar-nominated film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has gotten Michelle Obama's ringing endorsement.

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The first lady played host Wednesday at a White House workshop for about 80 middle- and high-school students from the District of Columbia and New Orleans, where the movie was set. Students saw the film, then got to question cast members and the director.

Mrs. Obama said she saw "Beasts" over the summer and considers it one of the most powerful and important movies released in a long time.

The film tells the mythical tale of a 6-year-old girl named Hushpuppy struggling to survive in the southern Delta with her ailing father as a storm approaches. Her world consists of a small but tightly-knit shantytown community on the bayou with wild animals, both real and imagined.

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