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The Poker House
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The Poker House More at IMDbPro »

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Felt a bit all over the place at times, not a terrible movie though

Author: KineticSeoul from United States
8 February 2011

This is one of the story in the life of Lori Petty, and I never knew how much of a difficult childhood she had. It's basically a depressing and yet well acted and well made movie to some degree about girls struggles. Mainly because of a bad mother and not a very good environment to be growing up in. Now the negative aspect of this movie is that, it seemed to drag in a lot of scenes. In fact some of the scenes actually seemed quite pointless. Basically the plot is about a tough girl who is also smart, but don't always make the right decision having to take care of her sisters as well as overcome her struggles with the environment. The plot seemed all over the place at times and got boring during sometimes as well. This is not a near perfect movie but it isn't as terrible as some people claim it to be. The ending was okay though.


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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Powerful and drama filled coming-of-age.

Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
16 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Actress Lori Petty turns director for this harsh and gritty drama of a young 14-year-old girl named Agnes(Jennifer Lawrence)growing up in less desirable conditions in the mid 1970s. Agnes has two younger sisters and her mother Sarah(Selma Blair) is strung out on drugs. Everyday is a struggle for survival; Agnes looking after her sisters and trying to protect them from what goes on in their home. The house is host to degenerates playing cards, drugging, drinking and whoring. Sarah allows all the activity going on in the "poker house", because she herself is a major part of it. Agnes seems to be bright in spite of battling conditions to study in and is a talented local basketball hero. Life seems so dark and miserable, but Agnes has the resilience to make it to tomorrow. After seeing Lawrence in WINTER'S BONE, I am just that more assured she is one strong actress with unlimited abilities. Blair in this role is just as sensational. Playing the little sisters Sophie Bairley and Chloe Grace Moretz prove to have exciting and worth watching futures ahead. POKER HOUSE has a strong supporting cast featuring: Bokeem Woodbine, David Alan Grier, Andrew Rothenberg and Natalie West.

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Bravo to the actors and the characters they play!

Author: liajane19 from United States
31 January 2012

Selma Blair is amazing in The Poker House as a drug-addicted prostitute who has her three daughters living with her. Jennifer Lawrence also gives a wonderful performance as the eldest daughter, Agnes who takes care of her two younger siblings. The Poker House is narrated by Agnes as she tries to deal with being 14 and living in a house where there is gambling, drugs, alcohol, and pimps. The story definitely pulls on the heart strings at times, but it does not overwhelm with sadness that it makes it hard to enjoy. It adds just the right amount of humor that three young girls can produce while being silly together. I honestly was shocked by how well the movie was produced and the character portrayal. The Poker House is definitely something I would recommend to my friends, as well as watch again.

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21 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

A bad HS play

Author: John Holden from United States
9 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This runs out much like a play: characters speak their lines and act individually rather than interact; folks jump in and out of scenes with dialog that has no relation to a narrative that might have been developed; quirkiness abounds.

The film opens with "based on a true story" and closes with a note that we've just seen the director's real life. OK, but realism and verisimilitude by themselves don't make for good art.

Oh, and it's narrated throughout so there's no possibility that you'll miss something. Narration is great for folks who don't want to take the time to film a story.

It's a shame because there's a good story here - kids growing up around - and being lead into - gambling, drugs, prostitution, theft, etc. We just don't see any of it. We see a superhero girl sententiously pushed down our throats by the writer-director.

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39 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

A Near Perfect Movie

Author: yossarian100 from usa
21 October 2009

A person's life is made up of many stories, and this is just one story from Lori Petty's life, but it's told with all the style of John Steinbeck. Speaking of style, something which is lacking in so many films today, even great ones, THE POKER HOUSE is done with an amazing amount of it, and the only thing you get more of than style in this movie is the incredible performances and characterizations of Jennifer Lawrence, Sophia Bairley, Chloe Moretz, and Selma Blair, an excellent supporting cast, and a to-die-for script. The final scene of this movie is not an ending, it's a beginning, and it's so powerful I jumped to my feet while watching it. Lori Petty has an incredible grasp of the art of visual storytelling. I can't wait to see what she does next.

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

An intimate reminder of my childhood

Author: momofmelbaandcasey from United States
27 February 2012

I enjoyed this movie from beginning until the end. Perhaps due to the evocative nature of the film and my own very early childhood. Like Adele, the lead character and narrator of the film, it fell upon me at way too young an age, after a parental separation, to pick up the pieces, both figuratively and literally. This film is so surprisingly different than anything else that Lori Petty has done in film that I was startled to find out that it was indeed the Lori Petty from Tank Girl who penned and directed this film. A tale of religion gone wrong and a mother who couldn't deal with the consequential aftermath, a tale of a girl old beyond her years, searching for a tender love that couldn't be bargained; I wish that you see this film and take from it the hope that it inspires, the longing that children have for a pure love and the understanding that you can't always get what you want or even what you need.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One house to rent

Author: videorama-759-859391 from adelaide, australia
29 September 2014

Before JL was known, she lit up the screen here, among many other great performances in a true yet, I guess in one way, astounding story based on ex actress, Petty's childhood. Lawrence plays the the oldest sister to two youngin's whose irresponsible mother (Selma Blair) is a drunk and a heroin shooter. Her lover (Bokeem Woodbine) and pimp is having it off with Lawrence, in some intimately hot scenes, where I could see a talent on the rise. In this notorious house, there's pimping, boozing, partying, and of course poker playing. Lawrence does of steal the movie, really making an impact on the viewer, where surrounding performances are not to be underrated, particularly Blair, and a surprising David Allen Grier, as a blind barfly. Woodbine holds his own too, where he's always been an impressive acting talent, from his start in Jason's Lyric. His violent and threatening air to his character was just right, and made it's point. It's some of his best work. What goes on in this house, as from Point Break's Petty's personal biography, is certainly arresting. We even see a flash shot of a very young girl, getting groomed for prostitution, from JL's POV, watching outside. It's an eye opening movie indeed, and first time director, Petty, has brought something special here, in a poignant film that grabs you from end to finish. Definitely one for JL fans, to see how she started off. It's the acting which really makes it work, and again those JL kissing scenes, mmmmmmnnn.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Overall a great, powerful film

Author: smrusk from United States
26 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers, so don't read if you want to experience the movie as I did!

I find it obnoxious how other people who reviewed this movie compare it to a bad HS play or use their one film class as a basis to think they could do a better job telling a memoir that doesn't belong to them.

I had no idea that the director was telling her own story. Had I known that, I feel I would have been less critical throughout. I found myself pulling for these kids to get out in some way, realizing that so many children simply don't.

The few things that I did not enjoy included some characters like the one played by David Alan Grier. While humorous, I'm not sure his role except to be a character.

The narration seemed spotty- I wish it had either been more consistent or taken out completely.

I thought Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant as always. Selma Blair blew me away- she was effective in playing a broken woman you struggle to empathize with. The other two girls were whimsical and you can tell how much their older sister works to protect them, allowing them to keep what little childhood they might have while Agnes literally has hers stolen away.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Powerhouse of Excellent Performances

Author: jerrybrsc2 from United States
16 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, so I just saw The Poker House yesterday and I had to wait almost a full day before I could successfully review it just to let it all sink in. I'm gonna go ahead and let you know how I feel right up front (if on the off chance you can't read the title of this review or see the stars); I loved this movie! Where to begin? OK, let's talk about what I liked. First of all, the performances were all just entrancing, most specifically Jennifer Lawrence. She plays a very vulnerable, yet rugged and emotionally confused 14 year old girl, named Agnes. Her delivery of each line of dialogue is just masterful in every sense of the word, and she infuses each sentence and every nuance of her character with such realistic flare that it's almost to the point of method. Also, Selma Blair who plays the character of Sarah, Agnes' mother, does an excellent job of playing the coked-up prostitute who is so out of touch with reality that it's almost unbelievable. For those of you who don't know, this film is based on the real life experiences of it's director, Lori Petty, thus ensuring some very powerfully and well written material as well as some top shelf direction, which it absolutely delivers in every aspect. The only real problem that I can think this film had was some of the characters are a little over-the-top, but honestly, I accredit this to Petty's writing and direction, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This is her life story and I'm sure that those characters were really as insane and over-the-top as they are portrayed in this movie. Really the biggest problem for me personally was that, at times, the pacing was a little off. It would slow down and speed back up again without much reasoning as to why it was doing it. This is just a minor point because at no point do you find yourself scratching your head and saying, "What?" or "How?". Overall guys, The Poker House is a very very well acted movie, a pretty well executed movie, and a very underrated movie. I really don't know why this film has only 6.1 Stars. But anyway, I hope you liked this review and take it into consideration if you consider seeing this film. Thanks.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Slow to get started, but fantastic acting holds it together

Author: Jayden933 from United States
13 June 2012

The Poker House is a dramatic independent film starring the young Jennifer Lawrence. As usual, Lawrence's performance was gripping. Personally, I liked The Poker House better than Lawrence's Oscar-nominated role in Winter's Bone, which was also nominated for Best Picture. The Poker House has a major drawback as the first half of the film is very slow and unrevealing story-wise, yet it managed to keep me intrigued. Then, it all turns around after the dramatic climax of the film. The scene, which stands out as one of Jennifer Lawrence's most chilling and petrifying performances, is immediately followed by what is perhaps one of the most beautifully crafted and spectacularly shot monologues I've ever seen, given by Selma Blair. While the timing seems odd, it is a powerful and emotional moment capitalized by the two actresses' talent. The remainder of the film continues to satisfy to its jaw-dropping conclusion. 6.9/10

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