REVIEW: Winter’s Bone

26 12 2010

For a long time, “Winter’s Bone” was a blank box that needed to be checked on my essential 2010 movie viewing.  Now that I’ve seen beside Debra Granik’s gritty drama, the movie remains little more than a box that I’ve checked.  It’s bleak and unsparing, not meant to be anything grandiose or over-the-top, yet in accomplishing this goal, the movie manages to make itself rather forgettable.

At the center of the movie is a fascinating heroine, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), forced to be a mother to her younger siblings as her father has disappeared and her mother is incapable to care for them.  She’s forced to become the best bounty hunter of 2010 (take THAT, Gerard Butler) when she’s informed by the police that since her father put the family home for bond, she will lose it if her father doesn’t show in court.

Commence a search for her father amidst the backdrop of the Ozark drug dealing underworld, where she encounters plenty of unsavory figures with some disgusting meth faces who don’t want her nosing around in their business.  They recognize that she will stop at nothing to save her family, and with Ree’s determination, she could lead the wrong people into their operations and put a pinch on their profits.  She finds one ally in her uncle, Snowflake (John Hawkes), who does his best to protect her.

Lawrence gets the opportunity to play a very strong and courageous female character in Ree, and as the movie’s landscape bores, she keeps us drawn into the action.  The sheer trauma of facing reality and the consequences of her father’s actions is overwhelming, yet Lawrence manages to play it with such subtlety that it fades into the mountains with the rest of “Winter’s Bone.”  I wouldn’t jump straight to awards for Jennifer Lawrence, but my discordant voice is practically inaudible among a chorus singing her praises. B-



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