Down to the Bone

Critics Consensus

A vivid portrayal of the effects of drug abuse that avoids cinematic clichés, Down to the Bone is a winning effort that features Vera Farmiga's breakout performance.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 26,471
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Movie Info

Independent filmmaker Debra Granik makes her feature debut with the drama Down to the Bone, based on her award-winning short Snake Feed. Vera Farmiga stars as Irene, a working-class mother living in upstate New York. She struggles to keep her marriage together and raise two sons while keeping her cocaine addiction a secret. Hoping to make a change in her life, she tries to kick her drug habit. However, this proves even more difficult with the oncoming winter and a developing affair. Also starring Hugh Dillon and Clint Jordan, Down to the Bone premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004.

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Critic Reviews for Down to the Bone

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (14)

  • If there were an ounce of taste left in Hollywood, the magnificent Vera Farmiga would be a front-runner for the Best Actress Oscar.

    Jan 6, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • The film is so pitch perfect and realistic, it seems you are there with these people, watching their lives unfold before you as it happens.

    Dec 16, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Down to the Bone achieves what only the best independent films have: making life, at its most unvarnished, a journey.

    Nov 30, 2005 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Conventional movies, even independent ones, tend to get histrionic and judgmental about such drug-related setbacks. But Granik's film, though hardly a clinical case study, keeps a measured distance from the heavy-handed or simplistic.

    Nov 28, 2005 | Rating: 3/4

    Gene Seymour

    Top Critic
  • ... a harrowing character study.

    Nov 28, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • [A] small, beautifully faceted gem.

    Nov 28, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Down to the Bone

  • Oct 18, 2009
    Good flick but I hated the ending
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2008
    More subtle than your usual drug addict movie. While desperate, this one doesn't end up on a street corner somewhere homeless, or into crime, but it does still show the devastation caused by addiction and is a moving and interesting film. I had never heard of Vera Farmiga before, but I will certainly look out for her in the future, her portrayal of this character was excellent.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2006
    Drawn out, but an extremely realistic film about drug abuse with some impressive performances, in particular Vera Farmiga, which is definitely a name I shall be taking notice of in the future, her role in this was faultless and she reminded me of Cate Blanchett in many ways.
    Lady D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 26, 2005
    [font=Century Gothic]In "Private" a Palestinian family is not only living in the battlefield of the occupied West Bank but now they must face the additional indignity of having the Israeli army occupy their house. The army gets the second floor(under no circumstances are the family to venture there) and the family must stay downstairs. After dark, they are confined to the living room. For the father, Mohammed, a learned, dignified man, being a refugee would be worse and he insists on staying.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Private" is a tense drama with realistic situations. The film boils the whole Arab-Israeli conflict down to a microcosm of a single house being occupied. Through the character of the father, other ways are suggested of fighting the Israeli army than violence. And the individual soldiers are not shown as being the villains.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Georgia][color=navy]In "Down to the Bone", Irene(Vera Farmiga) is a mother to two young sons and wife to a construction worker. She works as a cashier at a supermarket in upstate New York. She is also addicted to cocaine. And she has been using since high school. After one particularly embarrassing attempt to buy drugs fails, she realizes she needs help and enters rehab.[/color][/font] [font=Georgia][color=#000080][/color][/font] [font=Georgia][color=#000080]"Down to the Bone" covers some familiar ground but does so in a totally unglamorous way. The movie does not offer any easy answers or solutions. The movie is anchored by a very strong performance by Vera Farmiga.[/color][/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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