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Great movie should watch
Debra Granik, one of the most exciting directors working today, experienced the first flush of major awards recognition with this surprise hit which earned 4 Academy Award nominations including one for Best Picture. Of course the film also brought to Jennifer Lawrence international recognition and critical acclaim as she would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress just two years later. Beyond all of the careers this film launched the movie itself is something to marvel at with it's blending of an entertaining crime drama with an intimate character study of a steely, resourceful young woman desperate to provide for herself and her family. It is gratifying to see a film like this quietly explore the impact that being raised in a low socioeconomic class can have on people.
Teenager Ree Dolly, Jennifer Lawrence, lives in the Ozarks of Missouri with her mentally troubled mother and younger siblings Ashlee, Ashlee Thompson, and Sonny, Isaiah Stone, who really on her to support them. She hopes to join the military for the $40,000 it would provide for her family but efforts are complicated by the fact that her meth dealer father Jessup has placed their house up as part of a bond and having been arrested if he does not appear in court they will lose it. She sets out to track him down but faces hostility from locals that she knows including Merab, Dale Dickey, who beats her brutally when she comes to believe that if Dolly learns too much they will be endangered. With the help of her meth addict uncle Teardrop, John Hawkes, she comes to believe that her father is death and learns that she must prove his death if she is to keep her house. She must commit gruesome acts in order to extract evidence but ultimately keeps her family safe.
Granik smartly never lets us feel that she is an outsider looking in on this world as we need to feel as immersed in this life as Dolly does. Unlike Deliverance (1972) we do not spend time peering at the deformed children whose condition is presumably caused by incest and we don't get appalled shots of the rudimentary shacks they inhabit. A lesser director would have included a montage displaying the horrors of this area but instead they are slowly revealed to us as Dolly teaches her extremely young siblings how to skin and remove the innards of an animal and faces abuse from the girl who would seem to be her closest friend. It dawns on us that this girl has no way out and yet she rises above the environment around her in so many ways as she is persistent and compassionate without seeming naïve or weak. We understand how punishing the lifestyle she leads is and we understand what makes her an exceptional young woman, she transcends this white trash neighborhood to be a strong, intelligent young woman.
Lawrence anchors the film as she is unflinching in her stoic practicality and totally convincing as a teenager who is both wise beyond her years and completely out of touch with certain aspects of life. One of the best scenes in the film comes when a desperate Dolly attempts to sign up for the military having ignored all of the potential and obvious reasons that she could not enter military service. While she is quickly condemned by the army recruiter who appears sympathetic to her cause but frustrated by her youthful ignorance while Lawrence reveals touches of fragile pain and hurt as her protestations get less indignant as time goes on. The supporting cast display some fine skill too as they never appear too glamorous to be believable while not appearing as haggard as the stereotypes found in most Hollywood productions. Hawkes received an Academy Award nomination for his performance and while I wouldn't have gone that far in praising him, the role he has is very small, he plays off of Lawrence nicely and works as a menacing father figure.
Who would have thought that audiences would respond to a film so stripped down and lacking in histrionic performances or explosions? If only more films like this one were being bankrolled in the modern studio system.
Winter's Bone is thrilling and chilling
The story was not very captivating. Kind of dull and boring at many times.
Great acting? Sure.
Interesting to watch? Nahh
Not a whole lot happens, but it still held my interest to the end. Good movie.
Great movie. The ending was too abrupt--- some characters changed without sufficient build up--dissapointing flaw in an otherwise great film.
This is one of those movies where you keep watching hoping that it gets better, but it never does and it leaves you with a frustrated regret that you should have given up after 15 minutes.
A fascinating film about life in the mountains featuring the performance that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career.
Nothing at all happens in this movie, how does it have these ratings?
Winter’s Bone: Debra Granik strikes gold again. Winter’s Bone is filled with calm, but depressing atmosphere and rich in preformances and character- like ohter Granik works, that adds up to a solidy, and compelling, drama.